Doctors serving immigrant communities report that patients are streaming in for a cure to a new ailment. Their "malady" is the threat of losing government benefits under immigration and welfare reform that would cut out aid to even legal immigrants. Physicians say their immigrant patients are asking for notes declaring they are "of good moral character," one of the requirements for citizenship.
Immigrants tend to cultivate close relationships with their doctors, especially in Latino communities. As a result, physicians such as Eloy Moscoso, M.D., a general surgeon in Chicago's predominantly Mexican Little Village neighborhood, says he writes at least two vouchers a day for patients.
He says, "(Patients) say, 'You did my gall bladder, so you know me.'"