A letter to the Editor on immigration, by PHR’s Asylum Program Director, Christy Fujio, appeared on April 1 in the New York Times.
To the Editor: Re “Southern Lawmakers Focus on Illegal Immigrants” (news article, March 26):The overreaching attempts of lawmakers in several states to “fix” perceived immigration problems are shortsighted and dangerous. Many proposals, including those that would bar undocumented people from attending college or marrying United States citizens, are alarmingly reminiscent of the segregation laws that plagued our country and set an embarrassingly recent precedent for institutionalized discrimination. South Carolina’s proposed bill, which would make it illegal to transport immigrants anywhere, including to a hospital, is particularly egregious because it could effectively deny critically needed medical care to thousands of people. This not only threatens the health of individuals, but also the public health of the entire state. Additionally, it would place emergency medical technicians in the untenable position of having to act as immigration enforcement officers rather than healers. Health professionals’ first duty is to provide their patients with the best care possible; they cannot do that if the state forces them into an enforcement role. CHRISTY FUJIO Asylum Program Director Physicians for Human Rights Cambridge, Mass., March 26, 2011