A group of Central American refugees and asylum-seekers, led by the nonprofit humanitarian organization Pueblos Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), walk along a road in the town of Santiago Niltepec, Mexico. Photographer: Jordi Ruiz Cirera/Bloomberg News
April 11, 2018
By Paige Winfield Cunningham
Enrolling in Medicaid or an Obamacare plan doesn’t hurt immigrants’ chances of gaining permanent residency in the United States. That might change soon, under a major policy shift the Trump administration is considering that could curtail legal immigration.
Clinics that serve immigrant populations are anxiously watching the White House’s budget office, where sources say the proposed changes are likely headed for consideration and are expected to be released before July.
Providers told me they’re already feeling the effects, as immigrants hoping to gain a green card or even citizenship back away from public safety-net programs, for fear it will score against them.
“When rules like this come out, they cause a lot of fear in our community regardless of whether someone is here lawfully or not,” said Thu Quach, director of community health for Asian Health Services, a California-based chain of community health centers. “They’ll go into the shadows because they’re afraid.”