Obama Ensures Hispanic Community They Will Be Included in H1N1 Flu Outbreak Efforts
In a town hall-style meeting at the White House on Friday, President Obama ensured Hispanic community leaders and advocates that the U.S. will not alienate the group as a result of the recent H1N1 flu outbreak believed to have started in Mexico, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. Obama also assured the group that they will receive treatment related to the virus regardless of legal status.
About 130 Hispanic public health workers, volunteers and advocates attended the meeting, which Spanish-language media company Univision co-sponsored. The meeting continued in Spanish following Obama's initial address in English. Excerpts of the meeting will be broadcast on Spanish-language television programs across the country and in Latin America.
About two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican heritage, and community leaders have been concerned that Mexicans will be stigmatized in the U.S. because of the outbreak. China isolated Mexican tourists, and Cuba canceled flights from Mexico in response to the outbreak, according to the AP/Sun. "We're one country, we're one community. When one person gets sick, that has the potential of making us all sick. We can't be divided by communities," Obama said at the meeting.
Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, in a recent interview said, "I think there are Latinos who already feel they are being scapegoated for this virus." Administration officials said they will protect the rights of Hispanics and ensured the group that Hispanics affected by the virus will not be denied medical care even if they are not documented residents (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 5/8).
The video and transcript the White House address is available online.