Tag: Eduardo A. de Oliveira

BostonBrazilianLatino

Immigrants, Physicians Look to Obama for Health Care Reform

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira EthnicNewz.org and FI2W reporter

When Barack Obama begins to focus on health reform as part of his lengthy to-do list, the new President probably won’t address the case of Pretinha, a 64-year-old undocumented housecleaner from Framingham, Mass., who worked for 22 years, but has no health insurance.

She is not alone. Dr. Milagros Abreu, a Boston University physician, knows hundreds of working families who, despite having paid taxes for years, were left behind by the Massachusetts Health Reform of 2006.

Dr. Milagros has helped more than a 1,000 Latino families enroll in a local health insurance.

Despite Pretinha’s lack of insurance, doctors at MetroWest Medical Center acted promptly after discovering her heart was failing. She was rushed to the operating room to receive a pacemaker, a small device that uses electrical pulses to normalize the heart rate.

Pretinha’s life was saved only because there were people who care for those who “simply don’t qualify.”

“Since June, our goal has been to draft a concrete proposal so the President can work on health reform on day one,” said John McDonough, a former Mass. state representative, and an envoy of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s office to spearhead health reform efforts.

President-elect Obama has said he will look for Congressional input on the direction the country takes on health care reform. But will the Republican minority in Congress compromise? Or will 46 million Americans, of which 32 percent are Latinos, remain uninsured?

“It’s probably too early to say how the Republicans will vote,” said McDonough, who admits that the illness of Sen. Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last May, has helped soften some hearts, but will not be decisive. (more…)

BostonBrazilianImmigration News

Brazilians Debate Whether Undocumented Housecleaner ‘Betrayed’ Her Boss

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

The news on the local Portuguese-language newspaper Brazilian Times

The news on the local Portuguese-language newspaper Brazilian Times

The talk of the town within the “Brazilian corners” of Somerville and Framingham, Massachusetts is whether the Brazilian housecleaner employed by Homeland Security official Lorraine Henderson betrayed her boss by agreeing to record their conversations for immigration authorities. Henderson, the Boston area port director for the Customs and Border Protection Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was arrested last Saturday for allegedly employing an undocumented Brazilian housecleaner at her home in Salem, Mass.

The controversy in the Brazilian community, which we reported earlier this week, has now made it to the airwaves on Portuguese-language radio in the Bay State.

“Three years ago my boss asked if I had Social Security. I said no. She fired me, but her neighbors kept my services. I would never record a conversation with somebody who gives me a job,” said a listener to a show on WSRO (650 AM), who declined to reveal her name.

“I simply asked my listeners: if a boss treated you well, gave you a job, would you do what this housecleaner did to Henderson?,” said Fausto da Rocha, host of “Brazilian Immigrant Center on the Air” a show broadcast every Monday morning on 1360 AM. (more…)

BostonBrazilianImmigration News

Brazilians in Massachusetts Shocked After Arrest of Homeland Security Official

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

Members of the Brazilian community in Boston and the surrounding region are expressing concern following the arrest on Saturday of the federal official responsible for keeping undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs out of ports in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Lorraine Henderson, the Boston area port director for the Customs and Border Protection Division of the US Department of Homeland Security, was arrested for allegedly employing an undocumented Brazilian housecleaner at her home in Salem, Mass.

Henderson - Photo: Boston Globe.

“I don’t know if my boss will inquire about my immigration status next time I clean her home,” said a housecleaner from Somerville, Mass., who spoke under condition of anonymity.

Henderson hired the unnamed worker starting in 2004. According to a Boston Globe report, she was warned by a fellow Homeland Security employee in 2006 that she should terminate the services offered by the undocumented contractor, but she refused to do so.

Henderson, the Globe said, “was arrested at her home shortly before 8 a.m. (Saturday) after an eight-month undercover investigation during which a cleaner wore a wire.”

(more…)

BostonImmigration News

In Massachusetts, Temple Turns Into Free Health Clinic To Serve Immigrants

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

Jaime Viviani is treated at Congregation Beth-El, a Jewish temple in Sudbury, Massachusetts
(Photo: Elizabeth Mendonca/Brazilian Times)

SUDBURY, Mass. — Despite the economic crisis, the Barbosa family will have a healthy holiday this year.

Three generations of the Brazilian clan are undocumented and uninsured. But Alessandra Barbosa knows that if her mother or her daughter ever need health care they can find it at Congregation Beth El, a Sudbury Jewish temple which becomes a walk-in clinic on Tuesday evenings.

In spite of all the talk about how Massachusetts Health Reform has increased access to care, there are those, mostly undocumented immigrants, who are falling through the cracks.

“Last year, we provided care to 515 patients through 753 visits, nearly all the patients ranging in age from 19 to 64,” said Kim Prendergast, resource developer with MetroWest Free Medical Program. “About two-thirds of them were Brazilian and 15 percent, Hispanic.”

What started four years ago as a “band aid” to care for about twenty low-income people has morphed into a reliable source of treatment for forty patients a week. I strolled through the temple last week as nurses rallied language interpreters to help with the majority-immigrant crowd.

(more…)