Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a final rule threatening the health and financial security of an estimated 75,000 Coloradans, 2/3rds of which are children. When proposed last fall, the changes in this rule drew more than 266,000 public comments, overwhelmingly in opposition. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative submitted comments in opposition to the proposed rule in 2018, and we continue to strongly condemn these changes. Immigrants living and working in Colorado contribute greatly to our robust economy and positively impact our communities.
The final rule threatens admission to the U.S. and applications for lawful presence for those already here if immigrants–or a member of an immigrant’s family–have received certain public benefits or plan to do so in the future. This means they will be left to choose between accessing key programs like Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, or “Section 8” housing vouchers, and staying together with their families. This wealth test penalizes people for being low-income, being a non-english speaker, their age, health condition, or not having private health insurance. This rule’s implementation will undoubtedly deter immigrant families that qualify for critical public programs from seeking them–creating additional barriers to accessing necessary care and improving the health of our communities.
CCHI believes that all Coloradans should have access to high-quality, affordable, and equitable health care, regardless of their immigration status. Our commitment to improving equity in our system and breaking down structural and systemic barriers is unwavering and we denounce this rule as a racist attack on our immigrant neighbors and community members. It should be reversed as quickly as possible.
This final rule does not go into effect until October 15, 2019, and will likely face legal challenges. In the meantime, you can learn more about the rule and how to get involved by visiting the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign website.