Illegal immigrant unfairly denied kidney transplant

December 7, 2012 — by Sudeep Raj

After seven years of waiting, Jesus Navarro, an undocumented immigrant, recently received a much needed kidney transplant. Before the surgery, Navarro needed to go to a dialysis machine every night after work to keep his body functioning. Although they tried to cover it up, the UC San Francisco exchange denied him the transplant because he is an illegal immigrant.

Due to the work of previous organ recipient Donald Kagan, who spoke out for Navarro and got over 1,000 signatures on a petition, Navarro finally got his transplant from the exchange, shortly before dialysis would cease to help him.

The U.S. is justified in its attempt to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country. Without regulation, the U.S. would see an immense flood of illegal immigrants, which would be unfair to citizens, who got the same status legally. 

The U.S. is in no shape to see an increase in illegal immigration; an in increase in illegal immigration prevention is justified and warranted.

But denying a man the right to a kidney transplant is not. Even if we were to attach the status of a crime to illegal immigration, criminals in the U.S. get rights too. In most cases criminals get the right to a trial, the right to life and the right to medical care when we are in critical condition. Even the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are given medical care.

In the U.S., hospitals are not allowed to deny anyone critical care, regardless of medical status, economic status, or even criminal status. My question is, why not legal status?

Illegal immigrants already come to this country because of  a better life and better medical care. Even if they are denied some medical care, they still believe that it is better than their home country. The number of immigrants is not going to increase significantly enough to harm our country.

The main thing that dissuades illegal immigrants is the border patrol and risks of entering the country, and those precautions can be increased.

But what does our Constitution mean if we don’t give Jesus Navarro the same rights that we claim every citizen, criminal, and every man has.

And by bumping him down the list, past others who had less urgent cases, we were doing what we shouldn’t, telling him that he wasn’t created equal to someone who hadn’t crossed the border illegally.

The issue of illegal immigration has always been prevalent in politics and Americans’ everyday lives, but it has played an especially important role in the past election. According to ABC News, a record number of Americans — 57 percent — believe that there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S., which was reflected in the reelection of President Barack Obama.

This also marks a change in the mentality of the country to more accepting of illegal immigrants, and in the future maybe illegal immigrants can work their way to the full rights of a citizen.

Regardless of the law, all people in the U.S. should be able to put certain preconceptions aside in critical situations; the fact that groups still cannot treat all humans as equals shows that we have a long way to go on the path to human equality.

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