Blanca Borrego, an immigrant from Monterrey, Mexico, has been living undocumented in the United States for 12 years and has no criminal record, but she was arrested following a gynecologist visit on September 3 due to a fake Texas driver’s license.
Borrego’s husband has private health insurance through his job, so when Borrego went for an appointment with her doctor – one she’s been making regularly for the past 18 months – she didn’t think anything of it. But Dr David Bonilla usually saw her at a different hospital, and when she signed in at the Memorial Hermann Medical Group Northeast Women’s Healthcare Group they asked her for her identification and then realized the license was a fake.
County and hospital officials defend their actions and say they were just following the letter of the law, but immigration activists are in the midst of planning protests because they believe that the arrest will cause immigrants to refrain from seeking necessary medical treatment out of fear that the same thing will happen to them. Ana Rodriguez DeFrates, state policy and advocacy director in Texas for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, says “medical settings should be free from immigration enforcement,” and that law enforcement officials should ask themselves if women trying to get their healthcare needs met with their families is really where the threat to immigration standards is.