House Democrats have stooped to a new low. In a surprising move, they voted to reward illegal immigrants with something America’s veterans have been seeking for years. Everyone should see this before they cast their next vote.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to implement a new universally connected electronic medical records system for immigrants, ahead of efforts to implement those same systems for U.S. military veterans, American Military News reported.
The House passed the bill, H.R. 3525, U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act, on a largely party-line vote of 230-184. Only two Republican congressmen supported the bill — Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Fred Upton of Michigan.
The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol officials to implement an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, and store and report electronic health records to Congress for all immigrants apprehended at the border, which would follow them through all components of the DHS, according to The Hill.
The bill was introduced by freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and orders the establishment of a universal electronic health record system, which follows a patient to all points of care within the DHS agency — something that veterans do not currently have.
Underwood said it is important for Congress to ensure that border patrol agents are doing their jobs. “As DHS works to improve its medical screening of children and migrants at the border to ensure there is a minimum standard of care, the need for proper record keeping on those screenings will only increase,” she said.
The bill was based on Underwood’s experiences touring America’s Southern border. “When I was at the border, I saw busy, overworked Border Patrol officials having to keep health records on paper. I also saw how these records don’t follow migrants between facilities and transfers of custody,” she said.
However, critics of the bill wondered how adding more responsibilities to overworked Border Patrol officials would fix anything.
“I oppose this bill because it is poorly conceived, erroneously drafted and extremely risky,” Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana said. “This bill would require the Border Patrol to divert resources from its core missions and create a new medical screening for those who illegally cross and enter the country between ports of entry.”
Republican Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina said in a statement that the bill was wrong on many levels:
“Earlier this week, I said impeachment was the House Democrats only agenda. I was mistaken. They just passed legislation that will give illegal immigrants better health care records than our veterans and servicemembers. More and more they are making their priorities clear and it’s absolutely shameful.”
The U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create an electronic health record system of illegal border crossers within 90 days of enactment.
The problem? The Veterans Administration (VA) will not have similar electronic health records systems in place for nine years and the Department of Defense (DOD) will not have those systems for another five years.
Additionally, the new requirements are not funded, so DHS would be forced to take funds from other agency efforts including border security, combatting terrorism, stopping drug and human trafficking, and natural disaster response.
According to Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Republicans added an amendment to the bill to ensure that veterans receive the same treatment as illegal immigrants under the bill. However, Democrats voted it down.
Amendment to give VETERANS same healthcare as ILLEGALS fails. Are you kidding me? We are so out of wack. pic.twitter.com/eYgqkklrMW
— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) September 26, 2019
While a modern Electronic Health Records system is set to be implemented in some VA hospitals as soon as 2020, the full modernization effort, which officially began last May, will be rolled out over a decade, the Military Times reported.
“If we cannot deliver a modern medical record for the men and women who put their lives on the line for us sooner than that, it is impossible to think that we could or should deliver one … for those who knowingly enter our country illegally,” Republican Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee said in a statement.
“We should not treat anyone, particularly someone who breaks our laws, better than we treat our heroes. DHS staff along the border are doing the best they can to keep up with screening illegal border crossers and this bill will make it harder for them to do their job without actually helping anyone,” he said.