On September 9, 2009, President Obama addressed Congress as part of his push for a health care “reform” law. One of the things the President said that night was that “the reforms I am proposing would not apply to those here illegally.” In response, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), shouted out “You lie!” Wilson later apologized for the outburst, and the House voted to rebuke him.
However, now that HHS has begun disbursing grants for community health centers for migrant workers, it’s clear to see that President Obama’s promise isn’t bearing up. Instead, as statements from HHS (reported by CNS news) make clear, these clinics “won’t ask about or collect data on citizenship or other matters not related to the treatment needs of the patients seeking health services at the center.” These clinics are targeted at a migrant workforce with a significant number of illegal aliens.
Congress should think hard about what the President’s promises are worth the next time an immigration bill comes up for debate, because as the administration’s record on “prosecutorial discretion” has made clear, what the President says and what federal agencies do are not always the same.