Latina activists call on president to reverse exclusions and restore health care for immigrant youth
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) today joins women’s health, immigrant rights, health equity and faith groups in calling on the Obama Administration to restore health care access to immigrant youth who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The health exclusion policies in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have a dramatic impact on immigrant Latinas’ access to health care. Immigrant women deserve access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including preventive care, contraception, and pregnancy care, as a matter of basic human rights and dignity,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Unfortunately, these exclusions place basic health care out of reach for many young people in our community, including workers, students, and many who are parents themselves.”
Since the DACA health exclusion policies were announced, a diverse coalition of more than 200 organizations from communities across the human rights spectrum, including health equity, provider, reproductive health and justice, children’s health and rights, labor and workers’ rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, faith-based, anti-poverty, Latino civil rights, Asian Pacific American health and civil rights and LGBTQ rights groups, have criticized the policies and asked that they be reversed. Hundreds of comments have been submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opposing the policies. A petition from individual activists has garnered more than 27,000 signatures, and community leaders have spoken out on this issue.
“These young people are supporting families and contributing to our communities, and deserve to be treated with dignity,” González-Rojas added. “As Congress begins the work of reforming our broken immigration system, the Obama Administration must demonstrate its commitment to advancing the health of immigrant women. Today, activists across the country will be contacting the White House to send that message.”
In June 2012, the White House announced a new program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which helps qualifying DREAMers live and work without fear of deportation. Unfortunately, the Administration denied these young people access to federal health insurance programs, despite pre-existing policies that should have provided access to affordable insurance options. As a result, hundreds of thousands of DREAMers will be legally able to work and study, but will have no options for affordable health insurance. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health urges the Obama Administration to restore access to health care for immigrant women, to reaffirm its commitment to principles of health equity advanced in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and promote the health of immigrant women, families, and communities.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.