The Obama administration is assuring immigrants that applications for Obamacare will not be used to enforce immigration law.
“[Immigration and Customs Enforcement] does not use information about such individuals or members of their household that is obtained for purposes of determining eligibility for such coverage as the basis for pursuing a civil immigration enforcement action against such individuals or members of their household,” a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo reads.
The memo explains that such information may only be used for administering the Obamacare program and determining eligibility.
“Under the laws and implementing regulations, information provided by individuals for such coverage may not be used for purposes other than ensuring the efficient operation of the Marketplace or administering the program, or making or verifying certain eligibility determinations, including verifying the immigration status of such individuals,” it reads.
According to ICE, the practice is not unusual.
“Consistent with longstanding ICE practices, information provided by individuals seeking health coverage under a qualified health plan or through an insurance affordability program is not used for immigration enforcement or removal purposes,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen explained in an emailed statement.
“ICE is focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators,” she added.
Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for coverage under Obamacare, however certain legal immigrants are eligible.
The Associated Press, which first reported the memo, explained that there have been continuing concerns among the Latino population that signing up for Obamacare could be used against them or their potentially mixed status family.
“For us, it’s an imperative to make sure that the community is informed about this because we want people to be reassured that they can look at their options without fear, figure out if they’re eligible and pursue the enrollment process,” Jennifer Ng’andu, a health policy director at the National Council of La Raza told the AP.
Immigration hawks, however, are more likely to see the practice as another indication that the Obama administration is not serious about immigration enforcement.
“This is just one more example of how illegal aliens receive preferential treatment compared to US citizens – and how hardworking taxpayers are working overtime to provide benefits for illegal alien households,” a GOP aide, reacting to the memo, told The Daily Caller.