Some immigrant families who are eligible for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act remain reluctant to sign up because they fear it could lead to the deportation of undocumented relatives, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center said Thursday.
“We want the community to understand that there are no immigration consequences, that there are no deportation procedures,” Marielena Hincapie said in a teleconference with Spanish-language media.
“Given the Obama administration’s level of detentions and deportations, there is very real fear, but we know that the Department of Homeland Security and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have clearly announced that the information on the people who sign up will not be used against them (to deport them),” the attorney said.
She explained that if an undocumented foreigner has one or more U.S.-born children, he or she may sign them up for Obamacare without fear of being identified by immigration authorities.
“In the last 10, 15 years, many families do not request benefits, especially for their children, for fear that it’s going to affect them in the future if they want to become residents,” Hincapie said.
Alvaro Huerta, another NILC lawyer, said that it is very important to register for the ACA before the March 31 deadline.
“We know that there are more than 10 million Latinos eligible to receive this health coverage, but so far we don’t know how many remain outside it,” he said.