Lowering the bar for residency in the United States, President Joe Biden revoked a rule that required legal immigrants to have health insurance or to demonstrate the ability to pay their medical costs.
The White House declared that the Trump-era guidelines did “not advance the interests of the United States.” In fact, the 2019 proclamation was about preserving American interests and upholding the law. It was predicated on an unassailable reality: “Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Trump rule last December. The court cited Section 8 of the U.S. Code, which empowers the president to bar entry of foreign nationals “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Biden’s action followed his administration’s decision not to defend Trump’s “public charge” rule at the Supreme Court. That rule, which would have strengthened existing law, stipulated that noncitizens could not receive a green card if the government believed they would become reliant on public assistance.
Reasonably, this would have denied green cards to those who received government benefits, such as Medicaid or food stamps, for more than 12 months over a three-year period. It granted humane exceptions, stating, “Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to affect any individual’s eligibility for asylum, refugee status … or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws and regulations of the United States.”
But that wasn’t enough for Build Back Better Joe. In revoking the healthcare requirement and letting the new public charge rule die, Biden is exposing the U.S. to untold public expense by legal immigrants, who are three times more likely than American citizens to go without health insurance.
Collaborating Democrats in Congress know what’s at stake. So they have introduced legislation to drop the five-year waiting period for enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and allow legal immigrants to start drawing benefits immediately.
Biden’s irresponsible actions that boost the costs of legal immigration dovetail with his administration’s sabotage of border enforcement.
Safeguarding the nation’s health during the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration invoked Title 42 to expel illegal border crossers. Now, even as Biden continues to beat the COVID warning drums, his Department of Homeland Security has begun granting exemptions for entry, without disclosing its criteria for doing so. A Republican congressional delegation is demanding an official response from DHS.
While America waits for answers, the administration’s behavior is disturbingly clear. For all their pretentious platitudes about welcoming immigrants – legal and illegal — Biden & Co. are putting unnecessary financial burdens on this country, while cutting corners at the border. It’s a lose-lose proposition.