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DACA Field Report

No Health Care For DACA Beneficiaries

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Last month, the Obama
administration quietly announced that those benefitting from DACA would not
also be able to benefit from the country's new healthcare system, taking effect
in the coming years. Ordinarily, a grant of deferred action gives the grantee
status as being "lawfully present" in the U.S., but the Obama
administration stated explicitly that this would not be the case for those who
receive deferred action under the DACA classification. To be eligible for
healthcare coverage, one of the factors a person necessarily must show is
lawful presence. The Obama administration described DACA as "an exercise
of prosecutorial discretion," allowing law enforcement officers to focus
on immigrants who pose a threat to national security or public safety and not
as anything that was ever intended to confer healthcare coverage on those
individuals. Thus, while Obama's move was at first lauded widely by
pro-immigrant groups, he is now facing something of a backlash. Of course,
those groups have no viable alternative to supporting the President. Perhaps he
is aware of this and the statement about the lack of healthcare coverage was
made to curry favor with those on the other side who claim that this healthcare
law, which is truly the centerpiece of his Presidency to date, would benefit
undocumented people. The news is not all bad for pro-immigrant groups, however;
under the new healthcare system, coverage would still be available to lower
income people with green cards or grants of asylum. Still, opponents of the
administration's move here believe that the lack of coverage for DACA grantees
puts two of the primary hallmarks of Mr. Obama's term - healthcare reform and
action on immigration - at odds with one another. Do you agree with those
people? Share your thoughts with us at editor@ilw.com and continue reading the full
article here

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