Monday, February 14, 2011

Arizona may require hospitals to check citizenship

Originally found here.

By MICHELLE PRICE, Associated Press Michelle Price, Associated Press –

PHOENIX – Republican lawmakers want to widen Arizona's illegal immigration crackdown with a proposal to require hospitals to check on whether patients are in the country legally, causing outrage among medical professionals who fear becoming de facto immigration agents under the law.

The medical industry ripped the bill Monday as it was scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Doctors envisioned scenarios in which immigrants with contagious diseases such as tuberculosis would stay home from the clinic or hospital and put themselves and the public at a grave health risk.

"This is making us into a police state that will try to catch people when they are sick," said George Pauk, a retired doctor with an organization called Physicians for a National Health Program. "Do we want to stop sick people from coming in for health care?"

Arizona is the first Legislature to take up such a measure amid a national push in conservative states to crack down on illegal immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona lawmakers ignited the debate a year ago when they passed a bill that required local police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally. A judge later put that provision on hold.

The discussion about the bill comes just days after an illegal immigrant in Texas with a banana-size tumor in her spine said she was ousted from her hospital because of her immigration status. She later found another hospital to get treatment.

Supporters say the hospital bill is necessary tool to fight illegal immigration at a time when hospitals lose tens of millions of dollars treating illegal immigrants in emergency rooms.

Senate President Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who was chief sponsor of last year's immigration law, says the hospitals bill is part of a broader effort to crack down on illegal immigration. The hospitals bill wouldn't bar people from getting care, but it would put the onus on hospitals to "do due diligence," Pearce said. "We're going to enforce our laws without apology."

Added Pearce: "It's the law. It's a felony to (aid and) abet. We're going to enforce the law without apology."

Other sponsors of the bill did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Discussion of the bill in the committee was put on hold late Monday until a later date.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 1405, would require hospitals, when admitting nonemergency cases, to confirm that a person seeking care is a U.S. citizen or in the country legally. In emergency cases where the patient isn't here legally, the hospital would be required to call immigration authorities after the treatment is done. Hospitals in non-emergency situations would also be required to contact federal immigration authorities, but they would have more apparent discretion about whether to treat illegal immigrants.

Opponents say the bill could pose serious health risks to those here legally and illegally. They believe the threat of deportation would keep some people from seeking health care for everything from emergency situations to measures such as vaccinations, potentially leading to preventable deaths. They also said it would increase hospitals' already-strained workload.

"You are now turning medical professionals into full-time INS agents," said Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo, speaking at a news conference Monday. "Doctors that should be working to help treat ill patients are now turning into ICE agents."

Nicole Russell is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter named Kira, and she could not envision what it would be like for a parent to decide whether or not to take their child to the hospital for fear of being reported to the authorities.

"I can't imagine putting the health care of my daughter in the hands of politicians," she said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

John Vanek - He is from Chicago and he has Powerful Friends

This blog has never bowed to intimidation. In this particular instance I feel that the best way to deal with it is to publicly document what I am taking as a threat.

Recently we received an email from John Vanek who we have previously blogged about. In the course of his email Mr. Vanek felt the need to make what this writer took as a veiled threat as well as what he called a "warning." The highlight of his email was the ending where he wrote "Remember I am from Chicago and I do have powerful friends."

I am assuming that he is trying to imply that he has criminal connections from Chicago but I suppose that it could also mean that he knows Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, the janitor at the former Wax Trax record label or a slew of other "powerful" people from Chicago (It would be great if it was a former Wax Trax artist like KMFDM! Käpt'n K let's talk!). It has been this writers experience that people who feel the need to mention "powerful friends" are often trying to compensate for there own lack of power or some other perceived shortcoming. I personally feel that having to rub someones nose in your supposed "powerful friends" is the equivalent of grade school kids shouting at each other whose daddy is the toughest.

In the interest of fairness I will extend a one time offer to Mr. Vanek. If Mr. Vanek can do so in a civil way I will allow him to use my humble blog as a venue to debate my prior story and print his own version of why he was terminated or resigned from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency at the Stewart Detention Center.

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money

We received another interesting tip over the weekend...

Many of you might remember a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Supervisor at the Stewart Detention Center named John Vanek. John Vanek was in charge of ICE's enforcement and contract obligations of the National Detention Standards. He's the guy that should of been raising concerns about issues like the alleged burnt out light bulbs in detainees cells that went unreplaced for several months. From what we hear John Vanek was forced to retire by ICE. A source alleges that this was because of a very inappropriate and personal relationship he was in with another employee. This female was 30 years younger than Mr. Vanek and had been employed by both CCA and ICE. This female employee had worked for Vance Laughlin (at SDC) with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and then been hired by Mr. Vanek and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (also at SDC). Allegedly this female employee was fired/forced to resign last week. From what we hear Mr. Vanek has now been hired by Warden Vance Laughlin at CCA's Adams County facility in Natchez, MS.

This whole incident seems highly unethical and yet again seems to demonstrate well the inability of the government to effectively manage a private detention center when there own contract manager allegedly engages in activity like this. Not to mention the fact that when you screw up with one organization and get caught the other one quite often seems to then just hire you. Apparently this type of behavior is not a problem when it comes to employment with CCA the self declared "leader" in privatised corrections. But then again we have also reported on similar incidents that Vance Laughlin himself has allegedly engaged in previously. Maybe birds of a feather are just flocking together....

How does that old phrase go, it's not who you know it's who you.....

Keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.