HB 2293: Bill in AZ legislature would have hospital workers checking citizenship, calling police

PHOENIX - From checking blood pressure to verifying citizenship? It would become a reality if State Representative Steve Smith's proposal moves forward.

"It's a data collection bill, that's what it is," said Smith while standing outside the Capitol Thursday.

House Bill 2293 would require hospital workers to attempt to verify a patient's citizenship, essentially make a note of it and call authorities.

"That's it, we don't deny anybody, they don't come in and not get treated, everything stays the same, we just want it documented," said Smith.

Smith said his goal is to find out the amount of money hospitals spend to treat undocumented immigrants.

"How much money does Arizona spend for illegal aliens? The answer is really simple, we have clue," said Smith.

HB2293 is still it's early stages and was recently introduced, therefore, it hasn't reached committee yet.

Some are calling the bill a "disappointment".

"Our state legislator really needs to be focused on creating a climate that creates good business opportunities so we can attract new businesses here, we need to be focused on shoring up education as well," said Lisa Urias, co-founder of ' The Real Arizona Coalition' which aims to educate Arizonans about immigration related issues and reform.

Smith maintains it's a dollar figure that needs to be known.

"They're (hospitals) not withholding care, they're not deporting, they're not throwing them out, they're not doing anything, we're just logging information," said Smith.

"They're (hospitals) not designed for law enforcement, hospitals are designed for healthcare," said Urias.

If the bill became a reality does Smith believe hospitals would really call police or would they show up?

"We have no clue," answered Smith.

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