Trump Proclaims Immigrants Must Have Health Insurance to Enter

On October 4, 2019, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation that purports to prevent the entry of immigrants “who will financially burden the United States healthcare system.” The President has unilaterally decided, without Congressional approval, that an immigrant will financially burden the United States healthcare system “unless the alien will be covered by approved health insurance . . . within 30 days of the alien’s entry into the United States, or unless the alien possesses the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

“Approved health insurance” includes coverage under employer-sponsored plans, unsubsidized State-level health plans, short-term health policies, catastrophic plans, a family member’s plan, TRICARE, Medicare, or several other specific types of plans.  Exceptions exist for certain categories of immigrants.

Trump’s proclamation adds yet another layer of discretion to the immigration system, granting consular officers broad authority to deny otherwise qualified intending immigrants from entering the United States.  It remains to be seen if this proclamation will face legal challenges, but one would think it likely. If not legally prevented, the Proclamation will go into effect on November 3, 2019.

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