Fact check: Do migrants have faster access to medical services than veterans?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Nusaiba Mizan, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio interview produced by Alexandra Hart & Kristen CabreraApril 13, 2022 3:57 pm, , , ,

From PolitiFact Texas/Austin American-Statesman:

Texas land commissioner candidate Tim Westley recently compared health screenings for immigrants to medical appointment wait times for veterans.

Westley, a former teacher who faces state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, in the May 24 Republican runoff, tweeted a TikTok clipfrom a March 30 interview where he made the comparison.

He said, “When we talk about illegal immigration, and we have illegal immigrants that have to be seen within 24 hours, while veterans are seen within months. And here’s the catch … not only are they seen within 24 hours — it’s mandatory that they’re seen within 24 hours — the funding that they’re being seen with falls under the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

When asked for his sources, Westley wrote he knows about veterans’ wait times from personal experience. Westley said in the interview he served in the U.S. Army and the Texas National Guard.

His campaign sent links and excerpts from a Department of Veterans Affairs FAQ and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps website page. He also credited a source he declined to name for his claim about immigrants detained by ICE.

The care systems for immigrants in ICE custody and for veterans are run by different federal departments and Westley was relying on two different metrics in making his comparison: he was referring to standards of care for immigrants, which aren’t always followed, and access to care for veterans…

Read the full story and see how Westley’s claim scored at PolitiFact, and listen to an interview with PolitiFact’s Nusaiba Mizan in the audio player above.

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