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Medical Deportations and the Effect on Undocumented Immigrants

medical deportations Allista doctor holding stethoscope addressing patient in hospital gowns sitting upright in hospital bed

Immigrant health care policy is a highly crucial and controversial subject of discussion. This issue needs a rapid conclusion considering the soaring costs of healthcare facilities and illegal status of the immigrant in need.

Many hospitals singly, or in a joint venture with the private transport companies, function as an unauthorized immigration officer and deport seriously ill or injured immigrant patients directly from their hospital beds to their native countries. Undocumented immigrant patients are deported without their consent or by exercising coercion to obtain consent.

Medical repatriation in America is a polished term meaning medical deportation of the undocumented and thus vulnerable, immigrant patients.

Reasons for Medical Deportation

As a rule, hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to undocumented and vulnerable patients irrespective of their immigration status in a particular country. However, once the patient is stabilized after the primary care in the hospital, this obligation ceases. At this juncture, in accordance with the federal law, hospitals are required to create a discharge plan and safely transfer patients to more appropriate facilities. Allista provides many services that are not always easily accessible to patients. This makes the transition from hospitals much easier and removes the stress that many patients face. 

The bitter fact is that most hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers are reluctant to accept undocumented patients as they do not have private health insurance due to their illegal immigration status.

Patients Affected by Deportation

– Undocumented immigrants

– Patients on temporary visas or legal permanent residents who do not yet qualify for government assistance

– Family members of such immigrants

The above groups of patients and those who cannot afford to pay their medical bills suffer when they fall severely ill.

Medical deportation affects the lives of patients across age groups and both genders.


Effect of Deportation

– Many patients become more ill and critical than their existing state of health while being transported to their native place.

– Patients are unable to reach the right healthcare facility in their native land.

– The hospitals in their remote native place fail to provide the required treatment to restore the health of the patient, thereby worsening the health. This has led to permanent disability or deformity or even culminated in death in certain cases.

– The family members are left helpless and suffer separation from their loved ones. They also become financially challenged.

– Deported patients are unable to return back to the country which deported them due to visa issues and legality after getting treated in their native land.

– Deportation violates right to life and preservation of health and well-being.

Deportation for medical reasons violates international human rights law and domestic laws too.

The Rise of Medical Deportation

The practice of forced or coerced medical deportation of the undocumented patients is expected to rise in the coming years due to mass immigration. Urgent measures are needed to curtail this unethical act.

According to an article published on NPR, without any policy changes, uninsured immigrants will remain vulnerable to the problems that arise from medicine and the business behind it. The federal government needs to formulate more stringent laws to prevent hospitals from deporting patients before achieving stability. An informed consent should be obtained from the patients and their relatives. A hospital discharge plan should be developed without regard to socioeconomic status, immigration status, age, and gender or other clinically irrelevant consideration. All laws that impose bars to Medicaid benefits based upon immigration status should be repealed with an aim to maintain the rights to life and preservation of health and well-being. Immigrants’ rights need due consideration under both international law and the country’s constitution.

Many hospitals and healthcare facilities are aiming to accept treat the deported patient irrespective of their living status in the foreign country. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you maintain your health with personalized care. The involved medical institutions, along with the government, should encourage the development and establishment of financial incentives for the repatriation and well being of the injured migrant worker, making sure that the quality of care in the country of origin, is the same or better than US standards.


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