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Legal Immigrant Health Insurance Requirement

A judge recently blocked the signed proclamation that immigrant applicants seeking to legally enter the U.S. must have health insurance and declared “aliens who will financially burden the United States healthcare system [are] hereby suspended.”

The proclamation would not apply to asylum seekers, refugees, unaccompanied children, children of US citizens, those entering on temporary visas (including H1-B), international students, scholars, visitors for business, tourists, L-1 intracompany transferees, and those who were issued visas prior to the rule going into effect. It would be applied, however, to those currently seeking immigrant visas from abroad, including spouses and parents of current U.S. citizens and the family members of lawfully permanent residents.

The proposed policy required any immigrant applying for an entry visa to show proof they will have medical coverage within thirty days of entering the country or that they will have sufficient money to cover “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” This does not specify a dollar amount, but says that an individual consular officer would determine if an applicant meets the requirements. It has also been mentioned that the secretary of state might “establish standards and procedures.” The proclamation also required that even those who qualified for a federal tax subsidy to help them buy health insurance on the Obamacare individual market would have to reject that option.

That meant that applicants for green cards living abroad and using the consular process will face a new challenge when seeking to relocate to the U.S. The order is targeted to most heavily affect family-based green card applicants, or close relatives of U.S. citizens and current green cardholders.

If it is implemented, the rule will have a harsh effect on immigrants in the country, in particular, those with family-based applications. This health insurance requirement is a major policy change that could leave 375,000 people a year with their green card applications rejected. If you or a member of your family is a green card applicant, it’s vital that you understand what’s required under this new rule. Experts warned that the policy would favor the wealthy and prevent many U.S. citizens from bringing family members into the country.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland, Ore., issued a temporary restraining order the day before the policy was set to go into effect. The block will remain in place for 28 days, during which the plaintiffs and the government will try to gather and present evidence to the court.

It is more important now than ever to have adequate representation to protect you and your loved ones.

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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