Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) – President Obama’s initiative to grant DREAMers deferred action and work permits – is in full swing. These are individuals who the President, as well as the public, recognize deserve an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and fully contribute to the country they call home. But while immigrant youth were celebrating this opportunity to live without fear, the Obama administration quietly excluded these same individuals from paying their fair share to buy their own affordable health insurance after 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, and for children or pregnant women in this population to secure regular, preventive care under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in about half the states.
It’s a step forward, followed by an immediate step backward. The Affordable Care Act and DACA are critical steps towards a vision of a more just society. Excluding immigrant youth from accessing affordable health care is more than discriminatory – it’s restricting DREAMers from having the freedom and opportunity to pay for the health care they need and to fully participate in our society.
Immigrant youth, like all youth in the U.S., should feel secure and be able to see a doctor when they need to so that they have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Add your voice now and tell the White House to reverse its decision, and put the ACA back in DACA!
However, providing them the opportunity to go to college and work while preventing them from buying health care coverage if they want to do so undermines their ability to fully participate in and contribute to the economy. Currently, DACA beneficiaries are excluded from buying their own health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and from participating in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in about half the states.
The administration should reverse this change in the rule that excludes DACA beneficiaries from affordable health care options. Providing more options to access affordable health care coverage to more individuals was one of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act and would help ensure that our communities remain healthy and strong.
We strongly urge your administration to reverse its decision – and to ensure that DREAMers are treated with fairness, dignity and the respect that everyone in the U.S. deserves.