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Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy

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This Article describes one genre of contemporary anti-immigrant rhetoric, examines the social and economic forces that engender that rhetoric, and delineates its implications for the national debate about health care reform.

The Article details the underlying significance of America's opaque, yet highly competitive, class system to immigration reform and to health care reform. It locates the population most compelled by anti-immigrant rhetoric in the so-called intermediate strata (more generally referred to as the lower middle class). Careful examination of the relevant rhetoric suggests a broad explanation of the nation's reluctance, over almost a century, to construct a system of universal or near-universal health care coverage.

In supporting its claims, the Article examines the remarkable story of Luis Jimenez, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who was deported to Guatemala at the expense and initiative of a Florida hospital; further, it examines a number of recent federal and state laws that preclude or significantly limit health care benefits for undocumented (and for many documented) immigrants.