Idaho justices: Illegal immigrants entitled to medical assistance

By Chris Rizo | Jun 16, 2008

Justice Roger Burdick

BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline) - The Idaho Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an illegal immigrant who was injured is entitled to medical assistance.

In their ruling, the high court sided with Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, which sued Ada County Commissioners after they denied an application for medical indigency assistance from landscaper Javier Ortega Sandoval.

Sandoval, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, had medical bills of more than $187,000 after he had a stroke in 2006 while working near Boise.

His son, Francisco Pacheco Sandoval, applied for medical indigency assistance from Ada County while Sandoval was still hospitalized.

The Board initially denied the application because it concluded that Sandoval could not be a resident of Idaho as he was an illegal immigrant.

Overturning a ruling by Ada County Judge D. Duff McKee, the justices said immigration status does not affect whether someone is a resident of a county.

"Sandoval's status as an undocumented alien does not affect the determination of whether he is a resident of Ada County," Justice Roger Burdick wrote for the majority.

"The concept of residency does not distinguish between citizens and those who have entered this country illegally," he added.

Concurring in the decision were Justices Joel Horton, Jim Jones and Justice Pro Tem J. Kidwell. Dissenting was Justice Warren Jones.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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