Immigration

HEALTHY ILLINOIS FOR ALL

What’s New?

  • The General Assembly passed the Healthy Illinois for All bill, which created a pathway to health coverage for all residents aged 65 and older under 100% of the federal poverty level, regardless of their immigration status.
  • The program is expected to go into effect January 1, 2021.

 

What’s the Issue?

  • It is estimated that 450,000 undocumented immigrants resided in Illinois as of 2014.
  • Caring for our community members, respecting the dignity of each human life and addressing social determinants of health means we advocate for measures that seek to protect immigrant communities and provide an opportunity for citizenship.
  • The Healthy Illinois for All program is expected to impact up to 1,000 Illinois residents and cost between $1.5 million – $2.6 million in the first year.

Why does it matter?

  • This law makes Illinois the first state to provide Medicaid-like coverage to undocumented seniors.
  • This law provides access to critical health coverage during the ongoing pandemic.
  • This law represents another step toward universal healthcare coverage in our state.

 

What’s AMITA Health’s Perspective?

  • AMITA Health supported this legislation and supports access to health care for all.

 

PUBLIC CHARGE

Faith-based health care has a long-standing commitment to care for immigrants. Our duty is to welcome the stranger out of charity and respect for each individual.

According to The Pew Research Center, there are currently 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. Six states account for 59 percent of that population – California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

What’s New?

  • On September 22, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that expanded the definition of a “public charge” for immigration purposes. The rule was widely viewed as an attempt to limit legal immigrants’ future immigration status, such as the ability to get a green card or become a citizen, based on their perceived likelihood of accessing public benefits.
  • The rule went into effect on February 24, 2020, giving federal immigration officials more power to deny applications from applicants they deem are, or could be, an economic burden to the country.
  • On Aug 4, 2020 a federal appeals court blocked the rule in CT, NY and VT, stating that the rule has a chilling effect on immigrants who may need to seek medical assistance during the pandemic. The decision came a week after 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals barred the Administration from implementing the rule during the pandemic.

 

What’s the Issue?

  • Under previous guidance, a “public charge” determination was only applied to non-citizens who relied on cash benefits for most of their income, or who require public assistance for long-term care or institutionalization. The new rule significantly expanded the criteria to include additional benefits such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or subsidized housing. Learn more about determination of public charge.

 

Why does it matter?

  • The rule is expected to block the entry of hundreds of thousands of people. It is also discriminatory, acting as a wealth tax on immigration and disproportionately affecting prospective immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Experts believe the rule has had dampening effect by creating a disincentive for legal immigrants to access benefits they or their children are entitled to for fear that it will be used against them when they apply for visa extensions or citizenship.
  • When members of our community who should be able to legally access benefits live in fear that those benefits may risk their citizenship status, everyone loses. The result is many won’t access necessary services in the community and that puts their health and well-being as risk, as well as the health of their families and communities.

 

What’s AMITA Health’s Perspective?

  • AMITA Health believes in protecting the dignity of every human life. Each individual impacted by this proposed rule is created in the image and likeness of God. These changes contradict our faith and our nation’s history of offering refuge to the poor and oppressed.
  • We are called to be a voice for the voiceless. We stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities as they make themselves heard.  Our faith-based ministry also calls us to advocate for those who do not have a voice and to fight for social justice.  We support measures that seek to protect immigrant communities, and believe immigrants deserve continued protection and a path to citizenship.
  • AMITA Health remains committed to ensuring that all immigrants regardless of status have access to health care and are treated equitably and fairly.

 

External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

ACA Repeal Overview

View Resource

National Journal COVID Telehealth powerpoint

View Resource

Issue Brief U.S. Health Insurance Coverage in 2020: A looming Crisis in Affordability

This report provides findings from the Commonwealth Fund’s biennial Health Insurance Survey.

View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around these issues. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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Secretary of state wants protection of undocumented immigrants made law

Illinois’ secretary of state is pursuing legislation to codify the office’s long-held policy of not giving federal agencies full access to its database of driver’s ...

Daily Herald + July 15, 2019 + View Article

Supreme Court puts census citizenship question on hold

The Supreme Court on Thursday froze the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form sent to every U.S. household, ...

Washington Post + June 27, 2019 + View Article