Another First for Philadelphia
By Cathryn Miller-Wilson
Published January 23, 2024
In December 2023, outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney signed a bill making Philadelphia first in the nation to ensure that hospitals will no longer be permitted to deport seriously ill immigrants without the informed consent of the patient. This critical bill was passed due to alarming reports of persons who were injured or sick, being summarily placed on planes paid for by hospitals where the patients were supposed to be treated, and flown, regardless of the danger to their health, to foreign countries. This happened with increasing frequency in Allentown, Pa., and an attempt was made to do the same thing by Jefferson University Hospital here in Philadelphia before community-based organizations stepped in to protest.
Called “medical deportation”, or, more accurately, “patient dumping,” this practice is something developed by hospitals in response to severely ill or injured immigrants who do not have access to health insurance. As a result of the new law, patients must first give their informed consent before being placed on a plane and returned to their country of origin.