Federal Judge Stops Trump’s Insurance Mandate for Immigrants

A federal judge in Oregon blocked President Donald Trump's bid to deny immigrants visas unless they buy health insurance within 30 days of entering the country or otherwise show they can cover their medical costs.


U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon issued an order on November 26, 2019 to stop the State Department from enforcing a policy that officials unveiled in late October under a mandate from President Donald Trump, and which could drastically curtail the ability of people to legally migrate to the United States.


Simon noted that the requirement that immigrants buy unsubsidized insurance — meaning they couldn't get financial assistance through Obamacare — barred poor people from entering the country, which he said clearly infringed on the law. Simon noted that the requirement that immigrants buy unsubsidized insurance — meaning they couldn't get financial assistance through Obamacare — barred poor people from entering the country, which he said clearly infringed on the law.


"The proclamation is anticipated to affect approximately 60 percent of all immigrant visa applicants," the judge wrote. " The president offers no national security or foreign relations justification for this sweeping change in immigration law." Simon agreed with plaintiffs, including U.S. citizens and their overseas family members as well as the non-profit Latino Network, that the rule violated the Constitution's separation of powers. His decision applies nationwide.


This is a significant victory for the immigrant community, especially those who are not wealthy or who already have health insurance. The Trump administration shamelessly was attempting to exclude a significant portion of would-be immigrants by making it cost-prohibitive and logistically difficult to obtain temporary insurance in the United States in the event their visa was approved. The proclamation gave no reasoning for the changes and did not explain why immigrants should be required to have such insurance, whereas the general population does not.


It is hypocritical that one of the Republican party’s signature issues (ending the individual mandate of Obamacare) directly contradicts this proclamation of the Trump administration. Indeed, if it is unconstitutional to require people already living in the USA to buy health insurance, how is it constitutional to require immigrants to do the same?

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