Pop Quiz

What's wrong with this headline: Senior Democrat turns healthcare debate into fight over immigration?

It's a story about Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) raising concerns that the healthcare reform bill drafted by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) "does not allow illegal immigrants to purchase health coverage over an exchange set up to create competition within the insurance industry and reduce costs. Menendez is troubled by that language and has joined Hispanic advocacy groups in criticizing the bill for placing too heavy a burden on legal and illegal immigrants."

(Legal immigrants, too? Yes.*)

If you answered: A more appropriate headline might be "Senior Democrat turns healthcare debate into fight over decency," or "Senior Democrat questions whether administration really believes healthcare is a right, not a privilege," or "Senior Democrat has heart; actually regards all humans as equal," or "Senior Democrat has brain; recognizes excluding immigrants is bad politics," or "Senior Democrat has conscience; acknowledges that allowing our economy to depend on the work of illegal immigrants but shutting them out of American services is unbelievably fucking shitty," give yourself 1,000 points.


* When Iain immigrated, for example, a big part of the process was "proving" he would be financially independent. I had to submit back tax returns, bank account statements, proof of savings, and, because I was not working in America at the time (since I was living in Scotland), my parents had to effectively co-sign by submitting the same junk to say they'd pay for him if I didn't. Iain had to submit his own financial records, and he had to sign a waiver saying he would not be eligible for Medicaid, unemployment benefits, food stamps, or any other government services while a resident alien, even though he was required to pay taxes.

Also: Legal immigrants who don't come over on a work visa can't apply for one until they arrive, and it takes about three months for the application to be approved. So most legal immigrants can't work, can't even look for work, for a few months after arriving, and ergo have no income and no healthcare (unless they can be covered under a working spouse's plan).

The rules are set up so that's an inevitable circumstance of legal immigration, which is why the government is so insistent upon receiving proof they'll be draining their own or someone else's resources during that can't-work holding pattern immediately upon arrival.

Welcome to America! Fuck you.

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