State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who is the chairman of the California Legislative Latino Caucus, is working with a broad coalition of organizations to propose a new law that would allow all Californians access to health insurance, including those living in the country illegally.
California has made historic progress by passing a slew of new laws that help and protect immigrants, including those who crossed into the U.S. illegally or who allowed their visas to expire. These laws include AB60, which provides driver’s licenses to undocumented residents, AB 1024, which allows anyone who passes the bar exam to pursue a legal profession, and the Trust Act.
According to several advocates who are working with him, the specifics of Lara’s bill have yet to be settled. With many organizations, such as the California Immigration Policy Center and the Latino Coalition for Healthy California, rallying behind the bill, many think that it could be a bold, visionary step towards a better future.
Opponents of illegal immigration, such as Vaughn Becht, president of the California Coalition for Immigration have a different take on the topic. Becht doesn’t think it’s fair for a nation to pay for the health care of those staying in the country illegally. Undocumented immigrants have the choice to buy health insurance, but many won’t because of the cost or the application process. In California, an estimated half of the states’ 2.6 million undocumented immigrants have health insurance under employer programs.
There are limited programs for illegal immigrants, for example, pregnant women are eligible for services up to 60 days following birth. Most of these programs depend on where they live, since there are disparities between counties.
Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com