President Trump has recently issued a proclamation that would require immigrants to provide proof of insurance or adequate financial means should a health emergency occur, in order to be eligible to receive a visa that would lead to a resident green card. Insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer, short term and/or catastrophic. However, Medicaid does not count, nor does any Affordable Care Act subsidies for that matter because the federal government would still be footing those bills. This would not apply to noncitizen children, college students on limited visas, asylum seekers, or refugees. This proclamation applies solely to individuals who are abroad and seeking immigrant visas. Trump claims immigrants are three times more likely than Americans to lack health insurance, which would make them a burden on hospitals and taxpayers, should they require health related coverage.
Trump has not expressed the amount of money immigrants would need if they did not have insurance already – or anticipate receiving it from an employer. This new rule would block nearly two thirds of prospective legal immigrants and greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas. Most recently, a federal judge in Portland has put a hold on this proclamation and voiced they disagree with Trump’s decision.
While Trump has harped on immigrants posing a burden on hospitals and taxpayers, because they are supposedly two thirds more likely to lack health insurance, American citizens also lack health insurance and adequate coverage. Nearly 30 million Americans do not have health insurance and/or lack adequate coverage. So, while it could possibly be true that immigrants could contribute to an exacerbation of this issue, the main problem is the structure of our healthcare system.
This proclamation is another attempt to move the US away from family-based immigration to a system based on merit and financial resources. Trump has failed to build the physical wall he long-promised his support base, but has made several attempts to construct an invisible wall to limit immigration.
- The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
- The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
- us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.
Photo by Hush Naidoo