Following up on legislative victories that California immigrants have achieved in 2013, advocates have now set their sights upon expanding health care rights. Undocumented immigrants are not considered eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This means that close to 1.2 million undocumented immigrants will continue to remain uninsured even after the ACA is fully implemented - barring some other legislative action.
As one government affairs manager at the California Immigration Policy Center mentions, there has been an expansion in the numbers of individuals receiving health coverage through the ACA and the California Health Benefits Exchange. He believes that a similar mechanism could be implemented for undocumented immigrants as well.
Immigration policy pertains to more than simply providing a pathway to citizenship. It also means providing them with the tools they need to take care of their families.
Health care expense is obviously going to be a great concern for such individuals. The best and brightest of immigrants are going to be attracted to a nation that will take care of their family's needs as opposed to possibly remaining somewhere where adequate medical care is not available.
Attorneys who represent immigrants on a regular basis also understand the obstacles they face when trying to make a new life in the U.S. They can counsel such immigrants on their benefit options and on how benefit resources can be legally attained.
Immigration advocates would also like to see professional licenses made available for more undocumented immigrants. As many of these individuals are likely going to graduate from college due to availability of state college loans, it makes sense to also provide them with professional opportunities to remain here in California.
Source: KPBS, "California Immigrant Advocates See Health Care, Professional Licenses as Next Battle," Jill Replogle, Jan. 13, 2014