The Senate proposal requires Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI’s) to wait 15 years before they can apply for federal health and anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps). During these 15 years, these lawfully present immigrants will continue to contribute to our economy and help maintain the very programs that they are denied access to through their taxes. The Senate proposal also excludes of RPI’s from affordable health care under Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). After universal acknowledgement that the status quo in our health care system and expenditures is unworkable, we had a lengthy and contentious national debate on how to fix our broken health care system. We are told that Obamacare works only if everyone – healthy or sick, young and old – pays their fair share for health care, which will reduce costs for all of us, but the Senate proposal carves out young and healthy immigrants from Obamacare, contrary to its stated goals. How excluding certain individuals – who will be living and working in our communities for the long-term – from access to affordable care will help achieve a healthier, integrated workforce, a strong economy, and reduce the nation’s health care costs is a question we all should be asking. Instead of talking about how we can’t afford to include immigrants in the ACA, Medicaid and SNAP, let’s talk about how we can’t afford not to.
In addition to public health, what are some of the key consequences from excluding aspiring citizens from affordable health care and social safety-net programs for 10-15 years that may impact the rest of the population?