Valley activists oppose Arizona bill for hospital immigration checks

Arizona lawmakers are trying to require hospitals to confirm whether patients are in the country legally.

It's a proposal that's gotten a lot of controversy.

La Union Del Pueblo Entero, better known as LUPE, said that if a law like this passes in Arizona, it's very possible that legislatures could propose a similar bill here to crack down on illegal immigration.

It's a place to go when you're in pain, to get treatment and recover, but LUPE officials said it could be more of a pain to go to the hospital if a certain Arizona proposal is passed.

"As bad as it would affect our community, our families and our economy, it's a real possibility that it could pass," said LUPE spokesmanJohn-Michael Torres.

Arizona is looking at a proposal that would require hospitals to confirm whether patients are in the country legally and if not, they'll need to notify immigration authorities.

"Families are not going to be able to seek that healthcare if they know that the result of that will be separation from their loved ones," said Torres.

Dr. Janice Maville, the UTPA assistant dean for the college of health sciences said that's dangerous because it could keep those who are sick from seeking care.

"And perpetuating an illness that could be taken care of right away," said Maville.

But Dr. Maville said it's also expensive to treat those patients.

"When the numbers of clients coming to the hospital that are undocumented that are uninsured places a great strain on the hospitals finances and also on the finances of the state," said Dr. Maville.

Dr. Maville said this undermines healthcare providers' mission to provide care for the sick and injured.

"If clients are fearful of this mandate or stipulation that they must provide citizenship, they're going to be very leery or have lost trust in the healthcare provider," she said.