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Illegal immigrants and organ transplants

By Thomas D. Elias    


The unproven, unprovable but persistent myth that undocumented immigrants are a vast financial burden on the American taxpayer is now extending to the unlikely field of organ transplants.

The latest furor began when about 40 persons, many undocumented, picketed a Chicago hospital in late summer demanding the government finance organ transplants for illegal immigrants, as it often does for others. Some were on a hunger strike, promising to persist on water and Gatorade until they are placed on the waiting list for organs like kidneys and livers.

So far, this demonstration has not been duplicated in California. But the issue of transplants for the undocumented arrived here early last year with the case of Jesus Navarro, who did not receive a kidney transplant set to go to him because at the last moment, doctors at the University of California’s San Francisco Medical Center learned his immigration status.

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