The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs (DACA) grant some undocumented youths temporary work authorization and a two year reprieve from deportation. Many states have been using the DACA to help undocumented aliens to receive healthcare.
If you partake in the DACA program, you are given a valid Social Security number, a work permit (on which you pay taxes) and the chance to get a driver’s license, but you are not eligible for the federal tax credit which allows for you to partake in the affordable insurance market.
The DACA program is not intended to provide federal assistance for healthcare to participants, but is designed so that government resources for the removal of individuals can focus on high priority cases. Existing welfare reform law requires that, in order to qualify for federal income-based benefits such as Medicaid, they have to have legal status and wait five years.
Recently, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced a bill which would make legal immigrants and DACA grantees immediately eligible for health insurance. Currently more than 600,000 tax-paying legal permanent residents are restricted from receiving federal income. Grisham hopes that this sort of change will provide more access to emergency services to immigrants, who can currently pay as much as $1200 to treat common ailments.
Some critics say that providing health care and other services would encourage more illegal immigration.
Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com