SEPTEMBER 12, 2006
Illegal immigrants will receive free medical treatment at a taxpayer funded clinic established to treat New York residents who suffer from health issues related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Scheduled to open in January 2007, the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center will offer residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn comprehensive medical and mental health screening as well as treatment for free. It will offer the same services to illegal immigrants, according to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who prefers to call them “undocumented” immigrants.
Undetermined federal and state dollars will fund the new venture and the city of New York has already committed to provide $16 million to staff and develop the specialty clinic which will treat about 6,000 uninsured patients at Bellevue Hospital.
Recent reports about the serious respiratory problems of Ground Zero emergency workers who breathed highly toxic air certainly justify the need for a facility that will monitor illnesses and provide proper treatment. However, for the mayor to specifically list illegal immigrants as the beneficiaries of a publicly funded medical facility is quite outrageous if not illegal.
Interestingly, Bloomberg is also in the process of creating an internal Mayoral review panel for the new clinic to ensure maximum coordination between city agencies and to assess the sufficiency of state and federal resources. Perhaps the panel can inform the mayor about immigration laws.
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