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Weekly Immigration Wire: Healthcare and the undocumented

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This week’s Wire will be brief. The MediaWire Bloggers are in Pittsburgh, Pa. for Netroots Nation. We will return to our regular format next week.

On Monday, President Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Following the meeting, Obama made it clear that he doesn’t expect immigration reform to pass until 2010, as the Washington Independent reports: Even if legislation is drafted this year, healthcare reform demands attention first. Some say the two issues are too connected to be separated, although there is no denying that the healthcare debate has reached a fever pitch.

Right-Wing pundits are polluting constructive dialogue about healtcare reform, many times citing immigration as mark against it. Protestors are violently disrupting town hall meetings in an attempt to scuttle the approaching legislation and cripple the president’s agenda. Their aggression and confusion indicate that the healthcare and immigration debates are intertwined, as the Colorado Independent reports. Unfortunately, immigrants continue to be scapegoated for nearly every social ill that arises.

Even Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., misses the larger point by arguing that the undocumented should not be insured: A healthier nation is cheaper for everyone in the long run, and simply more humane.

Air America’s Kase Wickman reports that, while the White House has plans to reform detention policy, the administration cautions that the “sequence” of legislation initiaves enacted must be handled in a way “where they don’t all just crash at the same time.”

RaceWire points out that many immigration reform advocates are concerned that, by declaring an intent to simply reform the detention system, the administration is failing to discuss any alternatives to detention.

High Country News reports on the border wall dividing Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora. The wall is completely ineffective at preventing migrants from crossing and is seriously impeding “the migration and population growth of desert bighorn sheep and ferruginous pygmy owls.”

Finally, Sojourners illustrates what’s lacking in our approach to healthcare. Author Gareth Higgins, a recent U.S. immigrant, frames healthcare reform as an issue that determines what kind of nation and people the U.S. wants to be. Regadarding the recent conflicts over healthcare reform, Higgins postulates that they are “really just skirmishes about human greed and selfishness, rather than serious discussions about how to ensure that no one goes without.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration and is free to reprint. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

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