Health care workers demonstrated against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Wednesday afternoon
The physicians, health care workers and immigrant students protested ICE raids and increased immigrant detentions as well as a newly expanded public charge policy making it more difficult for immigrants who have received a wide range of public benefits to obtain visas and green cards.
Speakers reminded immigrants they were welcomed at the hospital and asserted health care workers had the responsibility to show solidarity with immigrants and speak out against the current administration policies.
“We want to inspire the medical community to think about how we can leverage our power to motivate change,” said Ilana Garcia-Grossman, 33, a second-year resident at the University of California San Francisco.
Health care and public health workers also demonstrated outside the ICE building on Sansome Street in San Francisco last Sunday. Both actions were part of the Month of Momentum, 30 days of protests featuring a different event for each day of August.
“It is critical that health care workers, who have taken the Hippocratic oath, take care of the health of all humanity regardless of where they are born,” said Rebecca Berman, director of the UCSF Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Some health care workers told the San Francisco Examiner they protested against “families being ripped apart,” and arbitrary treatment by the current administration.
Health care workers said they treated immigrant patients suffering from mental health issues on a daily basis and helped them by providing access to both health care and legal resources in a confidential environment.
Lurit Bepo, 30, a resident physician at UCSF and a first-generation immigrant, said she treated a patient who had children both in the United States and Guatemala and who suffered from mental health issues such as anxiety, sleep trouble and constipation provoked by the situation.
“We will fight for you, we are here for you, we are you,” said Bepo.
“You have the power. It is up to you what you are going to do with that power to create a difference,” said Maria Contreras, president of Clinica Martin Baro and a speaker at the protest.
The protest ended with a moment of silence.