Texas Indigent Care Law for Immigrants Heads to Governor

After passing in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate, it is now up to the governor to sign a measure requiring legal permanent US residents to provide proof that they are living in poverty before they can qualify for state indigent care services, according to published reports.

The legislation, which passed on May 16 at a 100-37 vote in the House, allows individual counties to investigate the finances of US citizens who sponsor a permanent resident‘s entry into the country before allowing the green card holder to qualify for indigent care, which includes state-sponsored healthcare services.

The law would make a permanent resident ineligible for indigent care if county officials determine their sponsor can afford to finance their healthcare treatment.
Although the legislation has been met with outrage by some state legislators the bill’s Republican sponsor, Representative Van Taylor, said the law would abide with federal guidelines, reported the Texas Tribune. Taylor was referring to language on federal immigration forms, such as the I-134, which the paper said requires a sponsor to agree that the alien “will not become a public charge in the United States.”

Multiple states recently put forward legislation cracking down on illegal immigration and the rights of undocumented workers. For instance, both the Georgia and Utah proposed measures allowing authorities to check the residency status of anyone they arrest, a move that a federal judged temporarily blocked in Utah’s law.