Bloomberg Línea — Almost three out of every 10 young immigrants in the United States protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program do not have health insurance, and because of the expenses they face, they cannot access medical care.
The data was revealed by NBC News, citing a report by the National Immigration Law Center, a non-profit group that reported that this phenomenon includes 27% of DACA beneficiaries, or about 157,000 people of the 580,000 young adults who do not have legal status in the US.
However, just two years ago, the rate of uninsured DACA recipients was 34%.“The last survey was conducted when we were still in the midst of the pandemic, so we believe economic trends have improved since then. This likely means that there are more DACA recipients who are employed and therefore have access to healthcare” through their employers, said Kica Matos, president of the National Immigration Law Center.
The report reveals that 57% of DACA beneficiaries surveyed believe they are not eligible to obtain health insurance because of their immigration status, and 51% are unaware of affordable coverage options for them.
DACA recipients contribute an estimated $6.2 million in federal taxes each year. However, if these individuals lose their jobs and, with them, their health insurance, they cannot access federal medical programs that are only for those with legal immigration status.
DACA’s future up for debate
A federal court in South Texas will hold a new hearing this Thursday to debate the future of the humanitarian program, which in 2018 was the target of a lawsuit by a coalition of nine states governed by Republicans.
The plaintiffs’ allegation states that the program is illegal because the Barack Obama administration changed parts of the immigration law without congressional authorization, and that the Executive violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by not previously publishing the changes in the Federal Register and waiting for public comment.
The future of the DACA program is In the hands of Judge Andrew S. Hanenand, and with it the fate of more than 500,000 people protected from deportation, and who have a renewable work permit every two years.
Attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) will deliver to the court new arguments on the legality of DACA and the correction of errors through the new program that went into effect on October 1 of last year with the same requirements and regulations as the original 2012 program.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, proposed a rule that would expand access to healthcare coverage for DACA beneficiaries. The proposal calls for modifying the definition of “lawful presence” to include them for purposes of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage.