Biden urged by House Dems to extend ObamaCare benefits to DACA recipients

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More than 90 House Democrats led by Rep. Joaquin Castro are urging President Biden to extend ObamaCare health benefits to DACA recipients, in an effort some Republicans insist “won’t pass Congress” if it were to be introduced as legislation.  

If successful, the move would be yet another expansion under the Biden administration to bolster rights for children of illegal immigrants. 

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A spokesperson for Castro, D-Texas, did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on whether House members plan to introduce a bill to further their push for health care benefits for DACA recipients or if they are asking for Biden to issue an executive order for the plan. 

“In just over a week in office, Biden has killed thousands of jobs and shipped thousands more overseas to China and Russia. Now, he’s doubling down on putting American taxpayers last by giving free health care to DACA recipients, when he should be solely focused on the most urgent health issue of our time: getting every American vaccinated,” Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for Republican House Whip Steve Scalise told Fox News. 

“An expansion of ObamaCare to DACA recipients won’t pass Congress and is wasting time he should be spending on leading us out of the Coronavirus crisis and reopening our economy,” Fine said. 

Specifically, House Democrats, in a letter signed by 93 members, are asking the acting Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran, to repeal a rule that excludes DACA recipients from receiving health benefits because they are not considered  “lawfully present.”

DACA recipients qualify for many other federal programs and are considered “lawfully present” for those.

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“There are over 200,000 DACA recipients who are currently working as essential workers on the front line of the pandemic, but who remain excluded from the most basic of health care protections under the Affordable Care Act”, Castro said. “In the midst of a deadly pandemic, we need to do everything possible to extend health care for all.”

Lawmakers are pushing for action in the first 100 days of Biden’s administration.

Biden earlier this week signed an executive order to strengthen the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that grants protection from deportation for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.

Former President Trump had attempted to reverse the order but was rebuffed by the Supreme Court.

Biden’s memorandum directs the Homeland Security secretary — which will be Alejandro Mayorkas, if he is confirmed by the Senate — to take “all appropriate actions under the law” to preserve the program.

The memo also calls on Congress to enact legislation to give permanent status and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

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Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to thsi report. 

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