Immigration policy

Published: 1/14/2020 1:29:30 PM
Modified: 1/14/2020 1:28:42 PM

To underscore Al Norman’s history of opposition to affordable health care (My Turn, Jan. 4), consider the following facts.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, border crossings by Central American refugees — the border crossings Trump and Fox News rage about 24/7 — ranged from 20,000 to roughly 60,000 people per month in 2018. In February 2019, more than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization, an 11-year high and a strong sign that stepped-up prosecutions, new controls on asylum and harsher detention policies have not reversed what is a powerful lure for thousands of families fleeing violence and poverty. They trek across hundreds of miles of unforgiving desert, vulnerable to exploitation by human smugglers and risk family separation, only to experience cruel treatment and sometimes death in custody of US border agents.

Now consider that in Los Algodones, Mexico alone, nearly five times as many American “dental refugees” (up to 6,000 every day) are crossing the border in the opposite direction. In contrast to receiving “cruel treatment,” U.S. citizens seeking affordable dental care can park in Yuma, Ariz. for $5, walk across the border, get the help they need and come back for dinner.

Then there is the fact that the high prices of health care in the U.S. also finance a politically powerful health care industry, which means lowering prices will always be difficult..

For a typical angioplasty, a procedure that opens a blocked blood vessel to the heart, the average U.S. price is $32,200, compared with $6,400 in the Netherlands, or $7,400 in Switzerland. An injection of Herceptin, an important breast cancer treatment, costs $211 in the United States, compared with $44 in South Africa.

Our immigration policy allows desperate U.S. citizens to get affordable health while denying it to those coming the other way.

John Bos

Shelburne Falls

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