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Obama Petitioned to Give Undocumented Immigrants Access to Affordable Healthcare

obamacare.jpgLast week, leaders within the nation’s Hispanic community formally requested that President Barack Obama allow certain undocumented migrants to have access to Obamacare. They say that the justification for such an allowance stems from the fact that certain “dreamers” who have been granted temporary work permits are paying taxes and therefore should be entitled to certain government benefits. “Dreamers” is a colloquialism for the several hundred thousand young adults who were granted temporary legal status by the President two years ago but who were brought into the country illegally as minors by their parents or other adult relatives. As such, they are still considered ‘undocumented’.

A Lawful Presence

Current government policy dictates that undocumented migrant are not allowed to purchase insurance through Obamacare and roughly half of the states in the Union also have laws against them obtaining Medicaid benefits. According to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, however, those migrants who are no longer in danger of being sent back to their home country should be considered “lawfully present” for essentially the same benefits that natural born citizens enjoy including government benefits and health care.

Well over a half million undocumented migrants had received approval for temporary legal status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which was passed in 2012. DACA status essentially means that those individuals will not be sent back to their native country for two years from the time the status is approved. Those with DACA status are also allowed to apply for renewal of their status every two years. Additionally, they have been issued temporary work permits and almost all states have allowed them to apply for a driver’s license.

Immigration advocates have been asking the President for several months now to broaden his program for deferred action so that undocumented migrants who are parents of US citizen children and parents of “dreamers” can also be included and receive benefits and health care. If Obama does in fact allow such a policy expansion it would likely mean that millions more individuals would become eligible for health care under Obamacare.

American Taxpayers are the Deciding Factor

Immigration opponents, such as those with the anti-immigration organization known as NumbersUSA, say that US taxpayers should be the deciding factor in the determination about who should and should not be eligible for health care benefits that those taxpayers are funding. They say that the entire reason that Congress has not passed legislation that would allow undocumented workers and migrants to have those benefits is because taxpayers “are not in favor of that”.

Earlier this year the President had announced his intention to take definitive action that would expand his policy for non-deportation but he has since backed off from that due to what his administration believed could cause a severe backlash from voters. According to White House officials, Obama is waiting until after the November elections so that any decision he makes in regard to immigration in general and to the expansion of deferred action in particular will not affect him or the Democratic Party because of voter reprisal.

If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel regarding an immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorney at the Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas or call their offices at 512-215-5225.