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Collier DOH & Sheriff's Office on Immigration Concerns During COVID-19 Outbreak

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Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Southwest Florida, nonprofit leaders in Immokalee are concerned with how immigration status would affect those seeking medical treatment during the pandemic.

 

During a conference call held last week with community leaders, the first question asked was about immigration and if those who are out-of-status could face legal risk while seeking medical treatment.

 

Immokalee Division Director for Department of Health Collier, Mark Lemke said healthcare providers are not concerned with immigration status of patients.

 

“We are not asking questions of status, we are not asking for people to tell us whether they are legal or not legal, we’re concerned about their health,” Lemke said.

 

Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said his office is focused on the health of the community. However, he said he could not speak to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s plans.

 

“I can’t tell you what ICE can or can’t do, or will or will not do and more often than not, they don’t even tell us if they ever come,” Rambosk said.  “I believe the president’s stand was the community’s health comes first.”

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.