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President Biden announced Thursday that his administration will issue new guidance to improve access to healthcare for DACA recipients.
DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, supports undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children. The program allows them to work, live and attend school in the US without fear of deportation.
Under the new regulations just announced by Biden, DACA recipients will now be able to receive health coverage under the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid.
According to the White House, the shift in policy will benefit more than 500,000 young people across the country.
The Washington Post reports that the Department of Health and Human Services plans to “expand who it considers lawfully present”.
Currently, only eight states have worked to expand their medicaid dollars to include DACA recipients. This national policy shift comes after relentless efforts by the former Trump administration to dismantle the DACA program altogether.
Biden calls for action from congress with announcement of new policy
In a video announcement of the policy change, Biden once again renewed calls for Congress to act on immigration reform.
Dreamers “are American in every way except on paper,” Biden said. “It’s past time for Congress to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.”
“While we work toward that goal alongside dreamers, advocates, and members of Congress, we need to give dreamers the opportunities and support they deserve.”
Recent polling shows more than 80% of Americans agree with providing DACA recipients a path to citizenship.
Congress has made several attempts to pass legislation including that pathway to citizenship, but all have stalled.
Biden indicated on Thursday he is intent on working to implement this new rule as quickly as possible.
“We recognize that every day counts,” the White House said in a statement. “We expect to get this done by the end of the month.”