Stay or Go? Terminally Ill Undocumented Immigrants Face Dilemma

Jan. 6, 2014 / By

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La Opinion/New America Media, News Feature, Araceli Martinez Ortega

Photo: Palliative care patient Gil García García with his niece Fatima. (Read Part 1 here.) Read in Spanish.

LOS ANGELES — When Gil García García began to feel a sharp pain in his left foot, he didn’t think it was important.

“Two weeks later, I could not walk. I needed help to get up. I had a constant and bad headache,” García recalled in a quiet voice, now with little strength.

In October he was rushed to a hospital emergency room at the University of California, Davis. The diagnosis was devastating: skin cancer, or melanoma, which had invaded his head, lungs, stomach and left leg.

Facing an incurable disease

Like many undocumented immigrants who have worked a lifetime in this country, García faced a dilemma when he was diagnosed with an incurable disease.

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New America Media is the country's first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.