President Joe Biden has announced plans to expand health coverage for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, according to the administration’s announcement on April 13.
The Department of Health and Human Services will propose a rule amending the definition of “lawful presence”—for purposes of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage—to include DACA recipients, allowing them to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and their state Medicaid agency.
This move was made to provide DACA recipients with the same opportunities and support as “Dreamers” in the United States as legal citizens, according to the administration.
The president has also urged Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, which he has called for in every State of the Union address since he took office.
DACA, which was announced in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden, has brought stability to more than 800,000 young people who have lived and worked in the United States as their only home.
Although Congress has yet to comply with the administration to provide a pathway to citizenship, the Biden administration has continued to take significant measures to protect Dreamers, including issuing regulations to “preserve and fortify” DACA and fighting political opponents in court.
According to the press release, Biden believes that DACA recipients have made our country a better place and by expanding health coverage for the childhood arrivals the administration plans to continue supporting them despite Congress’s current unwillingness to provide them with permanent legal status.
“When President Obama and I created the DACA program, we knew it would transform lives and it has. Bringing stability and possibility to hundreds of thousands of young people known as Dreamers, brought to America’s children. This country is the only home they’ve ever known,” Biden said in his video announcement of the plan.
“So today, my administration is announcing our plan to expand health coverage for doctor recipients by allowing them to enroll in a plan through the Affordable Care Act or through Medicaid,” Biden went on. “Health care should be a right, not a privilege.”
Although there are some restrictions on the availability of benefits for DACA recipients, there are numerous federal programs, opportunities, and resources that have been made available to them in the meantime.
The HHS changes to the definition of “lawful presence” under Medicaid and Affordable Care Act is just one way for program participants to access government assistance.
DACA recipients will also be able to access a range of other programs—including the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, outdoor programs, American Job Centers, Job Corps, YouthBuild, National Farmworker Jobs Program, and the ARP Good Jobs Challenge.
They can also benefit from housing, rental, and credit counseling services, tax credits, and consumer protection programs, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recently-launched immigrant initiative.
Additionally, DACA recipients can access maternal mental health support, nutrition assistance, and veterans’ benefits, including free legal assistance.
The amendment to the definition of lawful presence will come into effect by the end of the month, as the Biden-Harris administration continues to urge Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers.
From The Epoch Times