Latinx Screens: Film, TV, and Video

Asynchronous Blog Post on Clínica de Migrantes

Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run clinic, provides free medical care to undocumented immigrants in Philadelphia. Here, doctors and nurses work for free to serve people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST (Deadline 11/9 before the class)


1. Rent and watch the documentary Clínica de migrantes (Maxim Pozdorovkin, 2016)

2. In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-words minimum).


Describe the particular types of health care services provided by the organization Puentes de salud and how they are conceived of with Latin American undocumented migrants in mind.


According to the documentary, what are some of the challenges the undocumented regularly face in terms of health care? How the lack of access to health care is connected to other US societal issues?


Explain one of the migrant cases presented by the documentary. What is the narrative and/or argumentative function of following this person?


Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about Clínica de migrantes do you want to bring to the discussion?

16 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Clínica de Migrantes”

  1. It is a fact that immigrants in the United States face several obstacles when it comes to obtaining a basic service that any human being deserves, such as health care. However, when it comes to coverage, undocumented immigrants are more likely not to have health care insurance and are considered individuals not qualified to be covered by a health plan. Therefore, the lack of health care for the undocumented causes, in consequence, that a simple hospitalization or even a simple medical check-up cost large amounts of money; leading many of them into misery and financial trouble. During this documentary, you can see how the Puentes de Salud clinic becomes the refuge and last resource to which these people can be treated in an affordable, but above all, safe way.
    Being an immigrant means not having the right to health insurance and that, unfortunately, is only the beginning. Lack of health care is benign cancer that has been in the United States for many years, and the cure never seems to be found. Many undocumented immigrants prefer not to treat their illnesses or even seek other home remedies in order to continue working in a job that clearly worsens their health. There is no doubt that although many people deny it, the Health System of this country is very corrupt. Where money and financial gain are worth more than the health of a human being on the brink of death. Where the immigrant citizen cannot afford to receive quality medical treatment because the miserable salaries they receive do not cover enough for them to have a quality life.

    1. I wonder if universal healthcare would fix this issue. In New York there have been attempts at creating a universal system that works for both citizens and undocumented workers. I have seen the ads on the subway. My main take away is that although there is a desire for healthcare, I see the country as too focused on profit and productivity to ever take it seriously. Healthcare as worker benefits have been fought for many times, but we still have many jobs that will not even let workers take a sick day despite there being a global pandemic happening. This is clearly a situation where we can not depend on the corporations to change, and labor unions need to form in order to have bargaining power with the powers that be. Undocumented workers should have the same basic human rights as anyone else, especially the right to treat their illness and ailments.

    2. One of the major challenges that immigrants in the US face are those of health insurance and health coverage. Their immigrant status prevents them from getting health insurance, but their miserable salaries also don’t allow them to get quality healthcare services in a country they work so hard in and contribute to its overall economy.

  2. In the documentary it was shown many cases of immigrants who had once received treatment but were eventually let go and no longer were eligible because they were undocumented. Like “Sorry we can’t anything about it, I hope you live, Good Luck.” But one particular case that really resonated with me was Mery Martinez’s case, who was 42 years old at the time of the film and had cancer. She had come to the U.S. to work and make money for her family back home, who she hadn’t seen since she left a decade prior. She was initially receiving chemotherapy for her cancer but because she is undocumented they stopped providing it for her. So she went back to the clinic but all they could do was send her back home to Honduras. Upon arrival she died three days later in the arms of her family. I honestly got teary eyed because it’s so sad to see how a woman who worked endlessly for our country was disregarded for, and because of that she died so young. This just comes to show the unjust treatment and the lack of care towards undocumented people in America, and her story unfortunately is one of the most tragic examples. She worked and didn’t get to experience the fruits of her labor, but at least she died in the arms of her family. In the end of the film it said that Puentes de Salud treats 10,000 people a year, and 10,000,000+ are waiting to be treated. Though this film released a year ago, and we saw in the end that they finally opened their own space and clinic, I’m hoping they got more funding and are able to treat more undocumented people.

    1. The plight of immigrants in the US cannot go unnoticed. Mery Martinez’s case is a classic example of how an individual’s undocumented status can completely destroy their source of livelihood and also restrict them from acquiring essential services such as healthcare. Immigrants, too, have rights, but unfortunately, their rights don’t count for much when faced with the rule of law.

  3. In the documentary, many patients could not afford to pay for their treatments because they were undocumented or had simple jobs, so they went to the Puentes de Salud clinic to get themselves checked out. During the documentary, we saw many patients come and go because the doctors were helpful and friendly. In one of the scenes, a girl cut herself, and the doctors worried that she was going back to that since they couldn’t afford to go to therapy. Even though they had a lot of patients coming to them, they were still worried about financial help, which is why Dr. Larson went to the local restaurant owners to ask for help because many patients were coming from there. At the end of the documentary, Mercy Martinez impacted the doctors because she was a cancer patient. Mercy met with Dr. Larson at a restaurant before going back home, and they talked about her hometown, how she got here, and her kids. At the airport, the doctor was emotional because she was going home, and three days later, Mercy died. In the end, the doctors held a memorial for her to make sure they never forgot her.

    1. The majority of the patients that were going to the clinic was because they were turned down by other doctors. There wasn’t enough financial help available for these patients being that they are undocumented immigrants. I agree that the doctors were helpful to these patients as they showed that they generally cared for them. They wanted to find the best help for them when money became the issue they sought it. The film is told a story about a patient who came to the U.S to work for her kids back home. She suffered from her medical issue in America due to the harsh treatment and injustice in the system. She started to receive care at the clinic but unfortunately, it was too late. It was so sad to see that she went back home and passed away. I feel this is an issue that may never be fixed or properly addressed because the country is too focused on money and efficiency. This means they want things to move faster and be more productive, that way they can make more money but in the healthcare system, you still have to pay attention to the actual health of patients. There needs to be more attention to undocumented immigrants in the healthcare sytsem.

  4. Puentes de Salud provides prenatal services to women who are undocumented and can not receive healthcare services. The staff at Puentes knows many of these women live in poor conditions often times with many men or suffer from some form of sexual assault. Being a resource for these women and their babies can come as a big relief to these women. They have been rejected from other healthcare providers because they do not have insurance. Puentes is aware that many of the people who come are working long hours and hard labour jobs because of their status as an undocumented immigrant. This can cause many health problems and painful conditions that develop after a few years of working like that. So Puentes is seen treating people who have arm, back and head pain. Many of them being hard laborers. Puentes is also seen giving eye exams to a patient who had a visual impairment due to untreated diabetes. He had been given medicine for it but was unable to continue treatment because he could not afford the medication. Even if these displaced people are seen they will often times not be able to afford the medication they are prescribed without prescription. What Puentes is doing is very honorable and a real need in this political climate.

  5. One of the migrant cases presented in the documentary followed a patient named Mery Martinez. Martinez had originally come to the United States for work and provide for her children back in Honduras. After living in the United States for a couple of years, she was diagnosed with leukemia. With the help from the Puentes de Salud clinic she was able to receive treatment from the hospital; however, the hospital decided to abruptly stop her treatment and she had no insurance to receive any further help. Therefore, she sought out assistance once again from Puentes. Unfortunately, the clinic had no other resources or connections to ensure that Mery received the proper treatment to rid the cancer. The only help that the Puentes de Salud clinic could offer was a safe way back home to her family. After they purchased her flight and last meal in America, she flew back to Honduras. Mery sadly died three days later. I think that following Mery and her story in the documentary emphasized the need for the U.S. government to make changes to their medical care policies. Mery worked hard in the United States and the U.S. failed to effectively assist her when she needed it most. Her story is a call to action towards the many other thousands of immigrants that are denied access to health resources that should be granted to them.

  6. Some of the challenges that the undocumented regularly face in terms of health care are the lack of access they have to it, the inability to receive treatment due to it, and the fact that they cannot do anything to change it. If they ever get sick or have some kind of disease, they don’t have the support of the system to pay for all the treatments they might need. The documentary shows many cases of people that have been denied treatment because they don’t have the means to pay for it, like the story of Mery who was diagnosed with leukemia but was denied the treatment because of this. The documentary shows how the doctors tried to do everything in their power, however, it was not enough since the agreement for her treatment fell through in the end, leaving her with no other choice but to return to her country to enjoy her final moments. The lack of access to health care is a very serious issue in the US. It is unimaginable that the very people that contribute so much to the economy are not even given something that everyone should have. As humans being, it is very important for us to receive proper care regardless of our immigration status, and the fact that many people cannot get it is inhumane and unfair and the government should take action on this matter. The lack of healthcare is only one aspect of the many injustices that migrants face in the US because of their immigration status. Because they can’t afford healthcare, some of them develop life-threatening diseases that could end their lives unless given the proper treatment. The fact the Puentes de Salud clinic took it into their own hands to support this community shows how unreliable the system is and why it should be reformed.

  7. The documentary shows the problems with health care that immigrants have to deal with. The challenges that the undocumented regularly face in terms of health care is paying for any medical services and having easy access to it. They’re forced to work in pain otherwise they won’t be able to provide for their family. Due to the fact that immigrants have to settle for any job they find, most times it has them working tough jobs that cause them pain in the long run and along with these tough jobs comes low pay. The ones that higher these immigrants take advantage of their need for work and make them settle with whatever they’re paid when it isn’t enough. Since they aren’t paid a lot at times, they can’t easily afford anything they might need like medicine and settle for ointments that only take away the pain for a while. Immigrants aren’t allowed to get treated in other places due to the lack of insurance, but Puentes de Salud made it possible for them to see a doctor without having to worry about any payments. In the documentary, Dr. Larson mentions that immigration also is a political topic so unless politicians wanted to bring it up at that time, there wouldn’t be any changes in the resources that they have access to. Politicians choosing not to talk about immigration at the time shows that they didn’t care about their well-being even though they’ve provided so much for this country as well.

  8. We can see in the documentary, a vast amount of patients did not have enough financial support in order to receive treatments due to them being undocumented or them working low wage jobs. Those patients went to Puentes de Salud clinic in order to receive the proper treatments. Many patients used to come often and receive treatment without worries, due to the behavior and assistance that they received from the healthcare workers at the clinic. Puentes is seen throughout the documentary helping countless of individuals that were in need of assistance due to not having healthcare. They were seen giving women parental services, when they were poor and couldn’t afford to get proper treatment. One other case of a patient is known as Mrs. Martinez. She had labored her whole life in the U.S., but she was soon impacted by cancer. Due to her not having her papers, she wasn’t able to receive chemotherapy anymore, this caused her to go back to her home country of Honduras, where eventually she passed away within a few days.

  9. The services provided by Puentes de salud include check-ups, treatment that was not provided by other hospital’s due to insurance, and emotional support for undocumented immigrants. Their goal is to provide support that is denied by health care providers, due to the status of the undocumented migrants. Throughout the film we see many examples of the services provided by Puentes de salud such as check-ups for pregnant woman and treating undocumented workers who suffered pain while working here in USA. With the Latin America undocumented migrants in mind the nurses and doctors work for free, doing the most to help the people who work long hours and with pain in jobs such as working at a restaurant, cutting fruits, etc. In the film we saw Puentes de salud trying their best to get funds, to provide treatment for the undocumented patients.

    In the film we saw the case of Mercy Martinez, a cancer patient who was discharged from a hospital because “there isn’t much to do” leaving her with no support as to what she is going to do next. The nurses and doctors in Puentes de salud provided emotional support by giving her hugs, making her feel like she is one of them and not just labeled as an undocumented immigrant. They even went a step further by buying her a plane ticket back to her home country, where she died 3 days later. Although the death was sad, Mercy Martinez at least got to rest in her home country with her children being on her side.

  10. According to the documentary, some of the challenges undocumented people face are lack of financial resources, support, and insurance. Undocumented people do not qualify for affordable health insurance such as Medicaid and since most are below the poverty level, they cannot afford to pay for private insurance let alone the very expensive bills that come with seeking medical care. Due to the lack of insurance and financial resources many undocumented people do not seek medical care until it is to late to cure their illnesses. Like we saw with a patient in the documentary a visit to a hospital can result in bills of over $3,000 which in households that live on a day-by-day basis that is not something that can realistically be paid. When these people do seek medical care most times they are sent away because they have no insurance or way to pay for the medical services. Even when they are seen and diagnosed, they still are faced with the challenge of not being capable of paying for the medication or treatments they need.
    The lack of access to health care are connected to societal issues that are much larger. Undocumented people are part of a community that are constantly overlooked by our government and are often seen as a problem despite being a huge part of the work force in the United States. Due to our capitalistic mentality in this society, these people are not seen as humans that deserve to receive proper health care but are instead seen as liabilities and so unlike the Puentes organization many clinics and hospital turn they away or simply do not offer them ways to afford the services they require. The government has done very little to help with the lack of heath care resources undocumented people can acquire because to both parties it is always seen as political issue instead of seeing it from a humane perspective. Like the doctor said, “it is not about politics, but about having a moral and ethical obligation”, undocumented people deserve to be able to able to seek health care and live healthy lives simply because they are human beings like everyone else, no one deserves to face death because of something so trivial as not having money. Money and documents should never be the standard that defines whether a person gets to live a healthy life or not.

  11. According to the documentary, what are some of the challenges the undocumented regularly face in terms of health care? How the lack of access to health care is connected to other US societal issues?

    with the U.S having control over imports and imperialism which they took all there natural resources and lack of government funding in Mexico causing immigrants to have. to travel to the U.S to seek a better life. which is causing an influx of immigrates at a high rate and to them not having citizen ship and jobs that they are over worked and underpaid, causing them to strain there body are coming from these violent places and since they’re in the u.s with no visa. they often go unreported and when they are finally able go see a doctor when its an emergency, they often give them the bare minim of care and or incomplete care, and with the care the care that the Puebla provides they’re often under funded and when meeting with benefactor are met with push back and excuses on why they cannot help with care. with society being prejudice against immigrants they’re often lived and worked in the shadows and the u.s chooses to look another way and not provide help to the ones that are providing there businesses with food and work

  12. In the documentary, the problems with health care moves towards monetary issues as well. We are faced with many immigrants who come into the clinic to find a way to get help at a low cost. Many of them fear the hospital bills but overall the fear of getting deported if they were to check into a hospital. As we see there are patients that come in for situations dealing with headaches to Marcy, with cancer. The fear of not being able to afford getting treatment at a country you came to find work in and a better life in is impeccable. The lack of insurance is also a situation they are in. Being an immigrant there weren’t any opportunities as so to gain medical care. Therefore the bills will pile up or as many did use home remedies to cure themselves until it was time to find real medical help. The documentary also shows how people were able to get assistance when paying their bills. The clinic was able to help a wide community when the country has done little to nothing to help.

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