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Deferred Action Recipients Not Eligible for Obamacare

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on October 17, 2012

While the regional centers of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are now accepting applications for deferred action from prosecution for past immigration violations for certain individuals who were brought to this country as children, those same individuals still must fend for themselves when it comes to their health care in this country.

President Barack Obama’s deferred action initiative was not intended to confer any kind of eligibility for health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act, according to a published statement by White House spokesman Nick Papas. Thus, state health care officials have been instructed that young immigrants who have been granted a reprieve from deportation will not be eligible for federal Medicaid funding related to health insurance or specialized children’s health programs.

Some critics of this interpretive action have pointed out that Obamacare otherwise extends health insurance benefits to all immigrants who are “lawfully present” in the U.S. under work visas or other valid arrangements. They say that it is inconsistent to allow such coverage to those “lawfully present” while denying coverage to children and young adults who have been granted deferred action after being brought to this country as children.

Now, an estimated 1.7 million young immigrants who can remain here lawfully for a period of deferred action will have no health insurance benefits.

While our office does not handle health insurance matters for immigrants, we do regularly advise clients about immigration law matters, especially related to employment. If you have a question or need advice regarding compliance with U.S. immigration laws, please do not hesitate to contact us at (847) 564-0712 to speak with a qualified attorney. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information about how we might assist you.