Discouraging Lawful Immigrants from Using Health Care Services

Discouraging Lawful Immigrants from Using Health Care Services

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 21:56

The Trump administration is working on policy changes that are intend to frighten lawful immigrants from using health care services. The proposed changes would target immigrants who are in the U.S. legally and are waiting for permanent residence status, a green card.

sick child

♦ In February, Reuters reported on a leaked draft of a proposed rule change that would drastically expand the reasons to deny a green card application to include most kinds of government assistance from health care services to food stamps and housing assistance.

In the past, all the rant has been against illegal aliens stealing health care services. Now the push is on to frighten people in the U.S. legally.

Under the administration’s plan a lawful immigrant could be passed over for getting permanent residency if they use health care services like Medicaid, Obamacare subsidy, food stamps, tax credits or other non-cash government benefits.

It gets worse, even if they don’t use such services they could still be penalized if their children used such service. This is even if their children are U.S. citizens. This part of the administration’s proposed plans is the most shocking.

• The administration refers to a need to push people to be self-sufficient.

Advocates argue, how can a baby that is a U.S. citizen be expected to be self-sufficient. What kind of society would punish an immigrant parent for taking their child to  a hospital and receiving health care services? Health care that any other U.S. citizen would be eligible to receive without question.

♦ The proposals are not yet finalized. What has come out so far is a leaked draft. It is clear from this draft that the administration is focusing on the phrase “public charge” to justify the meanness in these policy changes.

Immigration law dating back to 1882 introduced the stipulation that anyone could be denied entry into America if they were likely to become a burden of the government. The law initially target people who were consider idiots or lunatics.

In 1999, the immigration service clarified the phrase “public charge” to mean if a person is likely to rely on the government for income, or lives in a government-funded long-term care facility.

The immigration services stated in 1999, that legal residents were eligible to receive non-cash benefits. Benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and assistance with heating bills.

The guidelines from 1999 stated that, “These benefits are often provided to low-income working families to sustain and improved their ability to remain self-sufficient.”

♦ The administration's policy changes could force a mother to choice between taking her sick child to the hospital and losing her legal immigration status. The 90’s were a kinder period in America.

If the proposed policy changes are enacted, anyone who has received non-cash government benefits in the last 36 months would likely be deems a “public charge,” and thereby prevented from receiving permanent residency.

The use of such benefits by a spouse, dependent parent or child would also be taken into consideration when reviewing an application for permanent residency.

♦ Conservatives have long complained about non-citizens receiving public benefits, saying they are taking benefits away from U.S. citizens.  But the larger goal is to affect immigration without changing U.S. law, by effectively barring lower and middle income people from immigrating.

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