Peter Morris, medical director of one of South Carolina's largest networks of clinics, explains that all of society is impacted if members of a population are forced to avoid hospitals. If someone who has an infectious disease fears going to the hospital to seek help, for example, the entire community is put at risk. "If people come to our offices afraid that, if they tell us something, that information could be used against them ... that's something we all should fear."
Marjavi 's arrest came after Sheriff Terry Johnson promised to crack-down on immigrants, who he claims are a tax on Alamance County's resources. County leaders have also recently called for an investigation of the county's medical system. While it is legal for officials to request medical records as part of a health-care investigation, Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum explains:
What is rare here is to have information used to deport someone. What you don't want to have is a system in which someone goes to a public health clinic and then that is used [to punish her] - you don't want that.Marjavi came to the States legally as a toddler, and she and her family have been living here since, even though their visas have expired. In the days since Marjavi Angel-Martinez was charged, her husband and family have also been arrested and face deportation too. The NPR story does not mention what will happen to Marjavi 's baby, who will be a legal US citizen if born here.
This story comes on the same day that the New York Times, in a piece about an immigration raid in Mississippi, reminds us of "a significant escalation of the Bush administration’s enforcement practices" in which those detained are not only being deported, but also "...imprisoned for months on criminal charges of using false documents." So it is quite possible that Marjavi, young and pregnant, will be separated from her family for quite some time before being deported.
Miriam of Feministing points to A Book Without a Cover as a site that helps citizens take action in the face of overly aggressive immigration raids. But I also think that Sheriff Terry Johnson might appreciate a letter letting him know that US citizens do not want to live in a society where our health is put at risk by a willingness to turn hospitals into branches of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.