Gordon addresses immigration woes

Friday, January 14, 2005

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon told the Leadership Bedford class and employees of Bedford County Medical Center that the key to solving illegal immigration is not just choosing the right policies but funding and enforcing them properly.

Gordon spoke at the BCMC auditorium Wednesday during the Leadership Bedford class's health care educational day. BCMC chief financial officer Jim Bishop, noting the impact that illegal immigrants have on the hospital's bottom line, asked Gordon about the issue during the question-and-answer portion of Gordon's presentation. Bishop said the hospital is plagued by illegals using multiple identities, and -- because of patient confidentiality -- it can't report such activity.

"There seems to be no way to control that," said Bishop.

Gordon noted that the last major emphasis on solving the problem of illegal immigrants was to put more burden on employers to identify illegal workers. But that program wasn't funded well or supported and so it hasn't worked well. He said the federal government needs to take a more active role.

"At the same time, we've got to put the funds behind it to enforce what needs to be done," said Gordon, a Democrat from Murfreesboro who represents the Sixth Congressional District. Gordon is the longest-serving member of Tennessee's Congressional delegation.