While President Barack Obama is getting ready to issue executive amnesty this week, administration officials are promising they won’t give the newly legalized immigrants access to Obamacare.
Anonymous administration officials are saying ahead of Obama’s Thursday evening prime-time address on his executive amnesty that illegal immigrants will “most likely” be treated the same way as DREAMers — illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, The New York Times reports.
Because they won’t be granted full legal status by the amnesty, neither the 5 million illegal immigrants affected by the expected executive action nor DREAMers are eligible for Obamacare coverage or subsidies.
But Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell said recently she would like to expand Obamacare eligibility to the group. (RELATED: Burwell: We Need To Give Obamacare To DREAMers)
“I think everyone probably knows that this administration feels incredibly strongly about the fact that we need to fix that” DREAMers can’t enroll in health insurance on Obamacare exchanges, Burwell said on a webcast with Latina bloggers. “We need to reform the system and make the changes that we need that will lead to benefits in everything from health care to economics to so many things — a very important step that we need to take as a nation.”
Immigration advocacy groups have been pushing the administration to extend Obamacare eligibility to illegal immigrants for years, since the White House first announced in 2012 that it wouldn’t unilaterally extend Obamacare eligibility to DREAM-eligible youth.
They’ve continued pushing for it, however — ahead of Obamacare’s second open enrollment period almost 80 pro-immigration organizations, including the National Council of La Raza and the AFL-CIO asked Obama to end “restrictions on access to affordable health coverage and care imposed” on DREAMers because they aren’t eligible for Obamacare coverage and subsidies or Medicaid. (RELATED: The Left Is Pushing Obamacare For DREAMers)
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions argued that Obama doesn’t have the power to grant illegal immigrants Obamacare eligibility — or the power to grant them amnesty in the first place.
“It is plain that President Obama has no authority to grant lawful status to those declared unlawful by the duly passed laws of the United States,” Sessions told The New York Times. “Nor does the president have any authority to declare such individuals eligible to receive health benefits that have been restricted to lawful residents.”
The administration may be backing off its support for Obamacare eligibility for illegal immigrants in the face of Republican opposition.