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Will the health care requirement make immigration harder?

Moving to New York is often an opportunity for immigrants to improve their lives in a number of ways, including financially. However, an executive order from the president could make it harder for many immigrants to achieve those goals. The new immigration rule will require people to prove that they can afford health insurance, which is notoriously expensive in the United States.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation already shows that noncitizens are more likely to not have insurance coverage than citizens. This does not mean that immigrants who have legal status do not have any type of coverage. In fact, 77% — a majority of those individuals — are currently covered by some type of insurance policy.

But those who are in favor of the rule argue that it will lower taxes for citizens by reducing the amount of uninsured people seeking care. But immigrants actually end up contributing more and more taxes as time goes on. First-generation immigrants do pay less in taxes than they receive in benefits, but that amount is more than made up by the second and third generations. These generations routinely contribute much more in taxes than they receive.

The reasoning behind the health care requirement might not be the only misguided thing about this new rule. The executive order did not provide a process for deciding whether a person meets the requirements. Without any guidance, each consular officer will have to go by what he or she thinks is best. This means that two individuals in the exact same financial situation could meet with two different officers and have very different outcomes.

Most people in the United States understand just how important health insurance is, especially since the cost of health care is usually very expensive. Some of the people who are hoping to immigrate to New York might struggle to demonstrate how they will pay for health care, especially since subsidies from the Affordable Care Act do not count for this requirement. Instead of going through the process feeling confused and unsure, it might be a good idea to speak with an experienced immigration attorney about any concerns.