This is a video of one of a question dealing with illegal aliens from a town hall meeting held by Senator John Thune (R-SD) at the Surbeck Center on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, August 28, 2009.
“We give free health care to illegal aliens. They come across our border illegally; that makes them criminals. Why should we aid and abet criminal activity by giving them free health care?”
Thune said, “Most health care providers and hospitals if somebody comes to their emergency unit, they’re treated. They don’t ask them–obviously they ask them if they have insurance and everything but if they have a health care need, they’re going to treat it.”
Thune continued, “But I do think when we’re shaping policy for the future and we’re looking at reforming health care, that we’ve got to deal with that issue of people who are here illegally. And if you want to extend access and coverage to all the people in this country who aren’t covered, you have to remember that about 25 percent of that universe of people–when you hear 47 million, it is 47 million, but 11 or 12 [million] of those are here illegally.
“So policy I think has to reflect the fact that we can’t, we’re not going to be able to extend to people who are in the country illegally all the benefits and everything else that we’re going to extend to the other people who are here legally. What we ought to be encouraging is people to follow the rules and come here legally.”
Thune reminded the audience that he is not against legal immigration. “I say that as a second generation immigrant. My grandfather came here from Norway, and so I have great appreciation for people’s desire to come to this country.”