The Trump-era proclamation that would have kept immigrants who could not provide evidence of health insurance within 30 days of coming to the United States has been revoked by President Joe Biden. The move is in accordance with his prior executive order directed at “restoring faith” in the immigration system and to emphasize his administration’s commitment to expanding access to healthcare.
The proclamation was meant to go into effect on November 3, 2019, but was blocked by an injunction issued by the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon in Doe v. Trump. Thus, the policy was never implemented but was not rescinded until now. Advocates argued that the policy would have affected approximately two-thirds of intending immigrants.
In issuing the healthcare proclamation, the Trump administration reasoned that new immigrants without health insurance would create a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system. However, a Tufts University School of Medicine study found that most immigrants arriving in the United States are healthier than most U.S. citizens and do not access as much healthcare as native-born Americans. The study also showed that immigrants who do eventually obtain health insurance, in effect, subsidize healthcare costs for U.S. citizens because they pay premiums but do not draw as much out of the system.
President Biden’s new proclamation is just one in a series of proclamations undoing Trump-era policies, intending to restore faith in and fairness of the U.S. immigration system. Others include the elimination of the public charge rule and the elimination of a rule that prevented undocumented college students from receiving federal pandemic relief for food and housing.
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