President Trump announced in October of 2019 that visas will now be denied to immigrants who cannot prove that they have health insurance or the ability to pay for medical costs. This comes as the latest move by the administration to put further restrictions on legal immigration.
The administration will now require consular officers to bar immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they can show proof that they “will be covered by approved health insurance” or that they have “the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” It is unclear what constitutes “approved health insurance,” and the parameters of what is considered adequate financial resources have yet to be established. The proclamation has been in the works for several months and is aimed primarily at immigrants seeking to join their families in the United States.
President Trump justified the proclamation by relying on a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found that legal immigrants are three times more likely to be uninsured than average American citizens. Many experts doubt the accuracy of this study, but to the administration, it makes it seem that legal immigrants without insurance are a burden on the country.
This new proclamation, in addition to the “public charge” rule, will clearly have a chilling effect on legal immigration. While the proclamation does not apply to nonimmigrant visas, people seeking a path to a green card may be prohibited. Even if an immigrant has a job lined up, it is likely that their health insurance will not go into effect immediately, and this will have a negative effect on their application. The “public charge” rule, which makes it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks like they will need government assistance, has been struck down by three federal courts. It is likely that this healthcare proclamation will also face legal challenges.
If you are interested in applying for a visa, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.