President Biden revoked on Friday a Trump-era entry ban on immigrants who were unable to prove they had health insurance or the financial means to pay for it.
“My Administration is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” wrote Biden in the proclamation. “We can achieve that objective, however, without barring the entry of noncitizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”
The health insurance requirement was part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to restrict legal immigration, and could have cut the number of immigrants entering the country legally by 65% had it survived numerous court challenges. Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked the government from enforcing the mandate while the U.S. grappled with a public health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The policy required people applying for green cards from outside the United States, using consular processing, to show either that they would buy health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the United States, or that they had sufficient financial resources to pay for any potential medical expenses.
The Trump administration said the rule was necessary to prevent uninsured immigrants from draining government-funded healthcare, driving up medical costs for Americans by $35 billion. But immigration advocates pushed back on the claim, arguing that immigrant taxpayers make significant contributions to the U.S. health care system.
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