That’s Nebraska State Senator Charlie Janssen, discussing the reasoning behind a bill he introduced yesterday to repeal a state law that provides prenatal care for low-income women, some of whom are undocumented immigrants. And don’t worry, there’s a “But …” that comes right after this sentence of Janssen’s:
"But we’re looking at the fact that Nebraska is the only state that offers this, so if somebody’s in this country illegally in one of our border states, the natural inclination is going to be to come to Nebraska and further sap the Nebraska taxpayers."
Janssen is concerned that undocumented women will choose to migrate to Nebraska (rather than Iowa or Kansas, say) in order to receive our unprecedented no-cost prenatal care, thereby shackling the state’s honest, hard-working taxpayers with the astronomical cost of caring for the well-being of their fetuses.
Last year, Janssen introduced a bill proposing an Arizona-style immigration law here. The bill (LB48) was called the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act and would have required police officers who stopped or arrested a person to check whether he or she was in the country legally if the officers had reasonable suspicion to think otherwise. Anyone who could not prove he or she is here legally would be held, and federal immigration authorities would be notified.
So … what Janssen meant to say, in the quote above, was that he’s deeply concerned about children, his own and those who look like his own.
Critics of last year’s bill, like Janssen and Gov. Dave Heineman, claim that it’s far too costly and that Nebraskans shouldn’t be taxed to pay for undocumented immigrants; they seem not to notice — or care — that the money is actually going to care for fetuses (whose protection, they almost always argue, is the most obviously shirked responsibilty of our government). They also don’t seem to notice — or care — that, once born, these babies will be American citizens. Here’s what we’re paying:
Last year’s measure provides prenatal care to an estimated 1,162 unborn babies each year at a cost of about $654,000 in state money and $1.9 million in federal tax dollars.
Of course, it’s actually far more expensive to care for the tiny American citizens who will be born without having received proper prenatal care during their time as undocumented fetuses than it is to provide prenatal care to the few women who can’t afford it. But Janssen and Heineman, who talk all about the money, must also mostly be interested in the principle of the matter, namely that fetuses have no rights and need not be cared for in any way.
Oh, wait, that’s the exact opposite of their position on fetuses, generally. I meant low-income fetuses and Mexican fetuses, about whom they care not at all.