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Leading Voices Praise Biden’s Health Care for DACA Recipients Announcement, Call for Continued Affirmative Relief

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Washington, DC – Key voices are praising President Biden’s announcement to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) eligibility to include current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, with many calling on the administration to continue pushing for affirmative relief and measures that help stabilize the lives of long settled immigrants in America. Amongst the voices include:

Examples of advocates and affected families’ reactions:

  • Yuna Oh, Political Associate for America’s Voice, who has DACA recipients in her own family shared her feelings on the announcement: “My family is just one of tens of thousands of mixed status families with a DACA recipient. Being able to access affordable healthcare is a huge benefit that will only increase the quality of life for me and my family. We will be unafraid to go to a simple doctor check-up and have the cost break our savings. We can plan out our future a little more with stability, rather than living on the edge. Having access to affordable healthcare was always seen as a luxury when it shouldn’t be. Opportunities for DACA recipients and other Dreamers is not just a good thing for families like mine but for our entire country.”
  • Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy of United We Dream, said: “Having good reliable health care is a human need, and this rule change will mean that more people will have the life saving health care coverage they need to take care of themselves and their families… we need President Biden to protect DACA recipients and immigrant youth without DACA. We also need Congress to do its job and pass a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people.”
  • Antonio Arellano, Vice President of Communications at NextGen America and DACA recipient celebrated the news, tweeting: “This news is a ray of hope for DACA recipients like me. It’s reassuring to know that the Biden administration is taking steps to prioritize our well-being. This announcement reassures me that we’re not alone in this fight.”
  • Mi Familia Vota reacted to the news on Twitter: “MFV applauds the expansion of critical healthcare programs to DACA recipients. We must now work to create structural changes to fully include all immigrants. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to fix our immigration system.”
  • Paloma Bouhid, a DACA recipient, shared her reaction to the announcement with ABC News, “It’s so expensive and it’s such a big part of my financials, being a small business owner, that I’m still very paranoid about getting sick or being in an accident. It’s just absolute paranoia. This comes as a huge relief to know that if something does happen I am covered and I can take care of myself and prioritize my health and know that’s going to be okay.”
  • The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) celebrated the victory and called for more action: “We commend the Biden administration for moving to rectify this years-long injustice so that more DACA recipients can access the care they need… Even as we celebrate this victory, we will continue to advocate for Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship that provides DACA recipients and immigrant youth the peace and stability we all need to thrive.”

Democratic leaders also celebrated the news, including:

  • Senator Dick Durbin tweeted: “DACA holders are American in every way but their paperwork and are an important part of our nation & our economy. Extending ACA health insurance options to them is humane and simply common sense. Congress’ decades long failure to do the right thing for Dreamers is inexcusable..”
  • Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto lifted up the news “For many DACA recipients, America is the only home they’ve ever known – and I will always stand up to support and protect them.”
  • Representative Pramila Jayapal reacted as well: Health care is a human right, and DACA recipients deserve access to that care just like everyone else. Glad to see the Biden Administration move to provide coverage to them and take a long overdue step toward justice.
  • Representative Judy Chu tweeted: Ecstatic at today’s @POTUS announcement that @HHSgov will extend Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage to #DACA recipients. This is life changing and in some cases lifesaving for Dreamers who deserve health care like everyone else in America!”
  • Congressman Chuy García also chimed in to celebrate while also calling for more policy changes: “This is a victory hard won by activists and our communities. It will save lives and ensure DACA recipients have access to care. But we know that DACA is still under attack. We must keep doing all we can to fight for a pathway to citizenship for all immigrant communities.”
  • Former President Barack Obama also spoke out about his healthcare policy being expanded to DACA recipients: “Everybody deserves access to health care. @POTUS’ plan to expand health care coverage for DACA recipients will be life-changing for Dreamers across the country.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“President Biden’s move is being rightfully celebrated because it is the right and smart thing to do for the health and well being of our communities including DACA recipients. This is also the kind of action voters across the board support and will remember in 2024, which will provide a contrast from the relentless GOP obstruction. President Biden should continue to use his executive authority to deliver for voters and implement meaningful relief for long settled immigrants including taking additional steps to protect Dreamers with and without DACA, TPS for Central Americans and others, and other affirmative policies that benefit our economy and strengthen our families.”