The Trump administration announced by proclamation on October 4, 2019, plans to deny immigrant visas to applicants who can’t pay for health care. Effective November 3, 2019, consular officers have been ordered to bar immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they “will be covered by approved health insurance” or can prove that they have “the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The new requirement makes more difficult for people to immigrate to the US. “Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” Trump said in the proclamation.
By issuing a presidential proclamation Trump sidesteps Congress and the executive branch regulatory process and does not provide an opportunity for public comment.
According to a report in the NY Times,
Once the policy is in place, people seeking those visas would be asked by consular officers to show how they intend to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the United States. That could include proof that they will have health care through a job or will be covered under a relative’s insurance.
Doug Rand, a former Obama official who worked on immigration policy, told CNN on Saturday that the policy would apply to some half a million people seeking green cards from abroad — most of whom will be the parents and spouses of US citizens.
Immigrants with a valid visa issued before the proclamation’s effective date of November 3 are exempt, and the proclamation does not affect refugees and asylum seekers. Other exceptions to the new immigrant health care coverage rule include children of US citizens, unaccompanied minors, permanent residents who are returning to the US after being overseas less than a year, and “special immigrant visas” for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who worked for the US government, and their families.
Combined with the public charge bill, immigrant rights defenders say this discriminates against immigrants from poorer countries. The administration’s new public charge bill was announced in August and will allow officials to deny permanent legal status to immigrants who are poor, goes into effect October 15.
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