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Health Care Reform Legislation Becomes Vehicle for Reshaping Immigration Policy
Date:11/4/2009

Weak Verification and Loosening of Welfare Reform Rules Alter Longstanding System of Enforcement and Incentives

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Current versions of both the House and Senate health care reform bills contain inadequate verification measures that will fail to prevent millions of illegal aliens from accessing taxpayer funded health benefits, charges the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). And in a radical change from current law, both versions of the bill grant immediate health care benefits to immigrants currently subject to a 5-year waiting period before they may access most federal benefits.

FAIR has pledged to try to block these proposals: "If powerful special interests prevail, the final version of a health care reform bill will have been used to transform immigration policies as aggressively as it was used to transform the U.S. health care system itself," says Dan Stein, President of FAIR.

FAIR states that narrow special interests such as the National Council of La Raza and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have been pushing hard to include sweeping changes to immigration policy within the health care reform bill - no limits to eligibility and immediate access for everyone regardless of status. "They never know when enough is enough," says Stein.

While FAIR takes no official position on the overall bill, The Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), the group contends that health care legislation should be "immigration neutral," not a vehicle to reverse longstanding immigration polices. Not properly checking the citizenship status of those applying for benefits, and granting instant access to legal residents still bound by their 5-year waiting period for benefits, shatters the integrity of a system based on penalties and incentives.

Background: The verification measures to stop ineligible aliens from accessing benefits under the Hou
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SOURCE FAIR
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