And review books to boot!

Medical students and physicians react to the Arizona Immigration Bill SB1070

Physicians are trained to “do no harm.”

The Arizona Immigration Bill, SB1070 was signed into law on April 23, 2010.

The ACLU section analysis of the bill touches on some of its negative consequences.

Supporters claim the bill will serve to crack down on illegal immigration in the US.  They believe that this law will lead to a reduction in crimes in their neighborhoods.

You will find medical student and physicians who support the bill in this medical student discussion forumere.

Detractors claim the bill will serve as a vehicle for discrimination and racial profiling.

Medical students and physicians have a unique perspective on immigration laws, as they take care of both legal and illegal immigrants.

Because undocumented immigrants cannot legally work in the US, illegal aliens will find themselves without health insurance, and therefore without access to medical care. Tough immigration laws such as SB1070, only contribute to the victimization of an already marginalized group.

Dr. John Maa, a surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, recently recounted a personal experience with a young patient who also happened to be undocumented.

Medical students are inculcated in a culture of “first, do no harm.” Some of these same students are upset and fearful at the potential consequences of this new law, not necessarily on the health of their patients, but more on its societal implications.

Many have banded together to join the Facebook group, 1 MILLION Strong AGAINST the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070, a group now with over 1 million members dedicated to defeating the bill. Other’s are displaying their disappointment by using bumper stickers that state “Arizona, No SB1070, The Show Me Your Papers State.”

Some are worried that the passage of this bill will lead to a violation of human rights, and some have even associated these events to 1930’s Germany. Below are some quotes from medical students, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians in response to the passage of the Arizona Immigration Bill SB1070.

I don’t get how the Arizona immigration law is constitutional? An old German saying: they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t s…peak up because I wasn’t a Jew; By the time they came for me, there was no one left to speak up…

and i quote “I know there’s some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but could we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying “Show me your papers?”…Every time someone says “show me your papers,” Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up, Arizona; that’s fascism. I know, I know, … See Moreit’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.” – Seth Meyers

Per Eugene Robinson: “But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn’t the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to

individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim — and requiring legal residents … See Moreto carry identification documents, as in a police state — would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?”

Arizona makes $18 billion in tourism every year. Let’s put a big dent in that –join me in promising not to visit the state while racial profiling is still legal.

Arizona, you’re not going to solve your violence and drug problems by profiling the people your country demands for labor. Border related violence is due to drug cartels that know no borders, not due to innocent ppl who come to work. Where is Cesar Chavez and MLK when you need them…

At a meeting of surgeons held in San Francisco on April 30th, 2010,  Dr. Mitchell Katz, a physician and director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, stated that he did not know any surgeons who would base their decision to operate on a patient based on their immigration status.

It is important for us, as medical students and physicians, to understand the potential impact of this bill on our future patients.  As politically active members of society, it is important to recognize the motivations behind this bill and to appreciate the factors that lead an estimated 70% of Arizona residents to support it. A recent New York Times/CBC News poll found that 51% of Americans believe Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law “Is about right” and only 36% believe It “goes too far.”

As a society, we must not clump all illegal aliens, or undocumented immigrants, into one group. Many are hard working members of society.  Some, like Dr.Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, initially came to the US illegally for a better life, and through hard work and dedication, is now helping countless Americans as a neurosurgeon.  You may learn about his story in the article, An Illegal Immigrant Turned Brain Surgeon — With His Own Two Hands by Max Alexander from Reader’s Digest .

This bill will add additional stressors to an already stressed and vilified group, who, like any group of people, is heterogeneous. We should not punish a whole group of people for the crimes that some members of the group commit. Let’s address the criminals separately from those who abide by the laws once they arrive here in search for a better future for themselves and their families.

To learn more about what medical students and physicians think about this new law, follow these discussions:

Emergency physicians discuss the new Arizona law

Premedical students discuss the implications of the new Arizona law

Medical students, physicians, and other health professionals discuss the new Arizona law


Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws

Medical student and physician reactions to the Arizona Immigration Bill

I welcome your thoughts.


Categorised as: Immigration

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