Two Democratic women legislators presented a bill in Congress today that would allow “dreamers,” the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration protection, and other undocumented immigrants to obtain health insurance.
Legislators Pramila Jayapal and Debra Haaland proposed the Health Equity and Access initiative under the Immigrant Women and Families Act to allow these immigrants to enroll in the Affordable Health Care Act (DACA), popularly known as Obamacare.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) today welcomed the introduction of the bill in a statement and stressed that it will also ensure that all federally licensed immigrants are eligible for Medicaid, designed for low-income and disabled people.
NLIRH Senior Director of Government Relations Ann Marie Benitez, noted in the note that “while the (Donald) Trump Administration is looking for ways to spread fear in immigrant communities, there are leaders willing to say enough is enough”.
“First, we saw the courts postpone Trump’s expansion of the public charge. Today, we applaud Representatives Jayapal and Haaland, and all who support this bill, for advancing this bold legislation to extend health insurance coverage to everyone, regardless of immigration status,” she said.
DACA, created by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), is an immigration program that offers shelter to thousands of undocumented young people who came to the country as children.
To qualify, young people had to prove that they had arrived before age 16, that they had no criminal record, and that they were in high school or college.
Those enrolled in DACA were able to stop deportation, obtain a work permit and in many states a driver’s license, benefits that had to be renewed every two years.
In 2014, Obama tried to expand his reach to benefit more “dreamers,” but a group of Republican states sued him and the justice system annulled the expansion of the program, as well as another plan called DAPA that sought to stop the deportation of parents of undocumented youth.
With Trump in power, the DACA has suffered several setbacks and has seen its number of beneficiaries decrease, which in the past surpassed 800,000.
In September 2017, Trump announced that DACA would expire on the following March 5 if Congress failed to reach an agreement on immigration; an initiative that ended up in the courts.
The case has reached the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the arguments of the government and advocates of this program next November 12, although it is not expected to issue its ruling until next year.