Top Hispanic leaders asked President Obama last week to grant some illegal immigrants access to Obamacare, saying the “dreamers” to whom the White House has given tentative work permits are already paying taxes, so they deserve government benefits.
The request is yet another complication stemming from the legal limbo Mr. Obama created for the dreamers, hundreds of thousands of young adults to whom the president gave a tentative legal status in 2012, but who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents as minors and thus remain illegal immigrants.
Under government policy, illegal immigrants are barred from buying insurance on Obamacare’s exchanges, and about half the states also prohibit them from getting Medicaid benefits. But the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda said those whom Mr. Obama has freed from the danger of deportation should be considered “lawfully present for all purposes, including eligibility for public benefits and affordable health care.”
“NHLA asks that you apply the fairness and equality that your Administration has shown in various other areas in the health care context and ensure that no one — regardless of their immigration status — lacks access to critical health care services,” Hispanic leaders said in their letter.
Nearly 600,000 illegal immigrants had been approved for tentative legal status under what the administration labeled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Their status means they cannot be deported for two years from the time of their approval, and they can apply to renew that status every two years.
They have also been given work permits. Most states have also decided to allow them driver’s licenses.