Deferred Action and Affordable Care Act

Many are wondering if the Affordable Care Act will provide insurance subsidies to low-income immigrants. The answer is yes, as long as an immigrant is “lawfully present.” This poses a problem for undocumented immigrants who could benefit from Deferred Action, DACA.

The Affordable Care Act, or the health care reform President Obama signed into law in March 2010, will go into full effect in 2014. The law is said to not only provide affordable insurance for all uninsured Americans but also end pre-existing condition discrimination, limits on care and coverage cancellations.

The Obama Administration’s DACA program, according to the Pew Research center, could halt the deportation of 1.7 million eligible undocumented youth and give them a work authorization for two years. One important factor of the program is that it does not give recipients legal status.

Because they are not granted legal status, DACA recipients will not be on a path to green cards or citizenship, and they will be therefore excluded from being considered “lawfully present.” The term “Lawfully present” applies to green card holders and people granted asylum in the United States.

The immigration initiative and health care reform are viewed as separate issues, but there will be plenty of discourse on the matter. Many young undocumented immigrants can’t afford healthcare, and if Obama has said that he wants to allow them to contribute to American society, their lack of access to health care will be a hot topic if he is re-elected.