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Illegal immigrants protected by a controversial Obama amnesty program for adults who came to the U.S. as children are eligible to receive government-subsidized health insurance under a new Biden administration rule that will cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently amended its regulations to extend the publicly funded perk to migrants who have benefited from Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a measure enacted by the former president by executive order after Congress repeatedly rejected legislation offering illegal aliens similar protections. The failed bill was called Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) and those shielded by Obama’s order are often referred to as Dreamers.

So-called Dreamers specifically do not qualify for government-subsidized insurance under Obama’s disastrous healthcare overhaul, officially called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but better known as Obamacare. The 2010 measure requires individuals to be citizens or lawfully present in the United States to enroll in a qualified health plan through the Obamacare exchange. ACA also requires enrollees to be to be lawfully present in the U.S. to be eligible for insurance affordability programs such as cost sharing reductions and advance payments of the premium tax credit. A few years after Obamacare passed, HHS issued regulations that explicitly exclude recipients of the former president’s DACA from being categorized as lawfully present in the country for the purpose of subsidized health insurance under ACA. The agency explained that allowing Dreamers to participate in the government’s insurance affordability programs was not consistent with the relief that the special amnesty initiative afforded, a reference to temporary protection from deportation.

Now HHS has done an about face, issuing a rule that makes DACA recipients eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan through an Obamacare exchange or a state basic health program. “Specifically, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and certain other noncitizens will be included in the definitions of “lawfully present” that are used to determine eligibility to enroll in a QHP through an Exchange, for Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs), or for a BHP,” the new rule states. It will take effect on November 1 and HHS estimates that it will cost American taxpayers about $305 million annually. The agency explains in the new 145-page rule that after “further review and consideration, it is clear that the DACA policy is intended to provide recipients with a degree of stability and assurance that would allow them to obtain education and lawful employment, including because recipients remain lower priorities for removal.” Therefore, the document says, “extending eligibility to these individuals is consistent with those goals.”

More than half a million illegal immigrants are currently protected under DACA, according to government figures, and over 800,000 under the age of 31 have been shielded from deportation and allowed to obtain work permits and drivers licenses since the measure was enacted. A big chunk of DACA applicants have arrest records, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Homeland Security agency that administers the nation’s lawful immigration system. Nearly 110,000 illegal aliens who requested the special Obama-era amnesty for adults who came to the U.S. as children have criminal histories for offenses that include assault, battery, rape, murder and driving under the influence. Tens of thousands of DACA recipients have multiple arrests and hundreds have more than 10 arrests, according to USCIS.

A few years ago, migrants protected under DACA were among rioters and looters arrested and criminally charged with crimes during a Black Lives Matter “Justice for George Floyd” protest in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Among them was 30-year-old Mexican national Maxima Guerrero, a community organizer with a Phoenix-based grassroots migrant justice organization called Puente Movement. During the riots, Guerrero and her fellow DACA friends occupied a vehicle “loaded with incendiary devices,” according to a high-level Phoenix Police source. Now, thanks to the Biden administration, lawbreakers like Guerrero and her friends can get their health insurance subsidized by Uncle Sam.

Author: Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach. Visit Judicial Watch at https://www.judicialwatch.org/

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