The Trump administration will deny visas to immigrants who cannot prove their financial capability to pay for health insurance or cover health care costs once they become permanent residents of the United States.
The White House made the announcement on Friday (October 4) in the latest move by President Trump to undermine legal immigration. The new requirement is set to go into effect on November 3.
Mr. Trump issued a proclamation, ordering consular officers to bar immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they “will be covered by approved health insurance” or can prove that they have “the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”
The White House said the government will only accept immigrant visa petitions made abroad if the applicants demonstrate that they will have the ability to secure health insurance within a month of their arrival in the U.S. If that’s not possible, then petitioners would need to prove they have the financial resources to pay “reasonably foreseeable medical costs” — a standard not defined in the order.
The order alleges U.S. hospitals and health care providers are not being reimbursed for treating those who are uninsured. “The costs associated with this care are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services,” the order claims.
According to the order, the new requirement will not apply to people who already hold immigrant visas, asylum seekers, refugees, children of U.S. citizens living overseas or holders of special visas for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who helped U.S. forces in those countries.
“The administration is on-the-record wanting to cut legal immigration, and particularly wanting to cut legal immigration of lower-skilled, lower-paid immigrants who are probably less likely to have health insurance coverage,” said Randy Capps, director of U.S. programs research at the nonpartisan think tank the Migration Policy Institute.
Capps told CBS News that Friday’s proclamation will go “much further” than the public charge rule in terms of health-based restrictions on people seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
The administration is hoping to accomplish this, he added, by rolling out an abrupt executive order that will not be subject to feedback prior to implementation unlike the public charge rule, which is expected to take effect later this month.
“Without any public comment or regulatory process at all, (the president) is just going to put that out there,” Capp said. He said the lack of a rule-making process for the change might become a liability in court for the administration.