President Donald Trump issued a decree that requires all US immigrants to have health insurance. The proclamation is said to take effect on November 3. By then, visa petitions from applicants abroad will only be approved if they prove they can secure health insurance within a month of their entry.
Immigrants who can’t prove that at once must show they have enough money to pay reasonably foreseeable medical costs. The proclamation reads, “The entry into the United States as immigrants of aliens who will financially burden the United States health care system is hereby suspended.”
The document emphasizes that it is about costs. The decree noted, “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 healthcare costs. Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs."
Though the proclamation includes several exemptions to the rules, there is still some doubt that the measure would limit legal immigration, particularly from poorer countries. Immigrant rights organizations quickly characterized it as racist. An immigrant advocacy group, United We Dream, wrote on Twitter, “This is another economic and racist attack on a community who deserves healthcare in the first place."
Some people assumed that the decree seemed to have been written quickly, leaving a lot of unanswered questions. Doug Rand, a former Obama official who worked on immigration policy, said, “What does foreseeable medical expenses mean? How much money is that? How do you prove that you’re going to get health insurance in the future? It’s silent on all these things. There’s no particular form that has been put out there for people to fill out.” He also noted that this is another example of how Trump administration is obsessed with “the erroneous notion that immigrants are zapping taxpayer resources.”