Organizations call on President Obama to restore access to health care in DACA program and ensure health care access in future administrative relief
Today the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) has joined a diverse coalition of 181 organizations from communities across the human rights spectrum — including women’s health, immigrant rights, health equity and faith groups — in an open letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to restore access to health care in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and ensure health care access in future administrative relief. This letter is particularly timely, as President Obama has committed to announcing a series of reforms to the immigration policy under his existing legal authority.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) has issued the statement below about the letter’s call for health care.
“We applauded President Obama and his administration for implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but we remain deeply concerned that changes to pre-existing policy were made that exclude DACA recipients from accessing affordable health care options. We strongly urge President Obama to rescind these barriers, and ensure that any future administrative relief program treats all people who are eligible for relief and work authorization as lawfully present for all purposes — including health coverage programs.
“This letter is a collective call to action from organizations across the country that recognize our immigrant brothers’ and sisters’ humanity. Access to quality and affordable health care is not a privilege, but rather a basic human right. As we wait for President Obama to fulfill his promise of leveraging his executive power to address flaws in our immigration system, we want to remind him that when more of us have health coverage, our communities are healthier and our economy is stronger. Immigrants, regardless of status, make important contributions to our society. Immigrant women and families work hard and pay taxes, but are locked out from participating in the health care system they already pay into. These restrictions are particularly harmful for immigrant Latinas living in rural or under served areas, and for LGBTQ Latino/as, who already face added barriers to getting the health care they need.
“We hope that President Obama will realize that extending access to affordable health care to DACA recipients and others eligible for administrative relief would benefit our communities and our country as a whole. Until then, we will continue fighting to secure access to quality and affordable health care for all 26 million Latinas in the U.S., regardless of income, immigration status or zip code.”
In June 2012, the White House announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, 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 reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.