A coalition of Latino groups are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to provide affordable health care access to undocumented youth whove received work permits under the presidents deferred action program.
Currently, undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving federal public benefits through the Affordable Care Act. That means they are not eligible for premium tax credits nor are they able to buy health care coverage through the marketplace. They are also not eligible for many federal health care programs, such as Medicare.
In a letter sent to Obama last week, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) urged the president to allow undocumented youth who are benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be eligible for health care access through the Affordable Care Act and a number of federal health care programs.
Administrative action is warranted in light of the chronic and severe lack of access to health care faced by the immigrant community, particularly Latino immigrants, the letter by NHLA reads.
Under the DACA program, which was implemented in 2012, undocumented youth are given work authorization and reprieve from deportation. Theyre also able to apply for a valid Social Security number, and some states allow them to get drivers licenses.
But NHLA, which is made up of 39 national Latino groups, noted in the letter that due to recent changes made by the Obama administration, DACA recipients are excluded from affordable health insurance options available to all others with deferred action.
These changes, the group said, deny DACA recipients the opportunity to participate in health care programs that their tax dollars support. Those programs include the federal Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program.
Furthermore, NHLA said that despite the tremendous benefits of the Affordable Care Act, Latinos continue to be one of nations most uninsured populations in part because many dont qualify for health care programs due to their immigration status.
As the majority of those granted DACA are Latino, the restrictions on access to affordable health coverage and care take a disproportionate toll on the health and opportunity of Latino immigrants, the NHLA letter reads.
NHLA sent the letter to Obama as well as a number of White House officials, including Valerie Bowman Jarrett, senior advisor to Obama, and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council.