Americans aren’t entitled to healthcare, yet immigrants apparently have to have it.
President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation that effectively prevents immigrants who lack health insurance from becoming legal permanent residents.
According to The New York Times, the announcement was made Friday. Trump’s order instructs consular officers to bar immigrants from living in the United States unless they “will be covered by approved health insurance.” Exceptions will be made for individuals who can prove they have “the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”
President Trump has justified his decision by citing figures suggesting that legal immigrants are three times as likely as U.S. citizens to lack health insurance.
“While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their health care costs,” Trump wrote on Friday. “Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”
The order concludes by stating that the entry of “aliens who will financially burden the United States healthcare system is hereby suspended.”
Plans which meet the administration’s new criteria include employer-sponsored coverage, family plans, catastrophic coverage and short-term insurance. While the government will accept Medicare recipients, migrants availing Medicaid or state-sponsored Affordable Care Act subsidies aren’t eligible.
The United States doesn’t even offer guaranteed healthcare for *its own citizens,* yet wants to demand it from people of other national origins.
Hypocrisy, xenophobia, and barbarism all in one policy. https://t.co/qM1bwztfh7
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 5, 2019
Entry visa applicants will have to show they have health coverage within 30 days of arriving in the United States. USA Today notes that Trump’s proclamation won’t affect refugees, asylum-seekers or international students attending U.S. colleges and universities.
Not surprisingly, the president’s move has been condemned by immigration advocates. The National Immigration Law Center, for instance, has suggested that Trump’s proclamation is intended to distract his supporters from impeachment inquiries.
“Trump is yet again pointing the finger at immigrant communities to distract us from his scandals,” the NILC tweeted. “This latest attack on immigrants is not good for hospitals, it’s not good for patients and it’s not good for the health & well-being of communities across the country.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center made a similar statement, arguing that that the administration is hostile to immigrants who aren’t already wealthy.
“This is the Trump administration’s latest attempt to restrict immigration to only the wealthy and use economic status to discriminate instead of trying to reunite families,” SPLC interim president and CEO Karen Baynes-Dunning said.
Left-leaning politicians have also attacked the proclamation from different angles. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—among Trump’s favorite congressional scapegoats—blasted the president’s intentions as xenophobic. Meanwhile, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) called the order “cruel.”
‘It seems every day the Trump administration reaches a new low of cruelty,” Murray tweeted. “This rule will do nothing to help families struggling with high health care costs as a result of this Administration’s policies.”