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Attorney General William Tong

11/14/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG OPPOSES TRUMP PLAN TO GUT LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND DESTABILIZE ACA HEALTH EXCHANGES

President Trump’s proclamation seeks to ban immigrants who do not possess certain health insurance or the ability to pay for medical care

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general and New York City in support of a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's Health Insurance Proclamation that would simultaneously slash legal immigration and destabilize health exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

The multistate coalition filed an amicus brief in Doe, et al. v. Trump, et al., a lawsuit challenging the Administration's attempt to deny visas to immigrants who cannot show health insurance coverage or the ability to pay for medical care. Advocates estimate the order could cut legal immigration by up to 375,000 people per year.

Currently, the ACA allows legal permanent residents to participate in health insurance marketplaces, including by purchasing plans that come with premium tax credits. The order would cut off access to those plans, forcing many immigrants to purchase skimpy plans while overseas—removing a relatively young and healthy pool of individuals from state health insurance marketplaces.

"This proclamation is a disingenuous pretext to simultaneously accomplish two toxic goals—gutting legal immigration and destabilizing the healthcare exchanges. Forcing immigrants to procure health insurance before they arrive here means they cannot buy plans through our state exchanges. This undermines our entire pool, and drives immigrants to skimpy and substandard plans. As many as 375,000 immigrants could be denied visas under this policy, separating families and harming our economy. We all lose under this unlawful scheme," said Attorney General Tong.

Immigrants pay $5.9 billion in taxes in Connecticut, and have a spending power of $14.5 billion. Connecticut has over 37,000 immigrant entrepreneurs who employ over 95,000 people across the state.

In the brief, the coalition argues that the proclamation violates Congress’ public charge statutes by adding an entry condition that Congress did not choose to include. The coalition also argues that this condition would conflict with Congress’ visa statutes dedicated to family reunification and workforce development. Additionally, it would conflict with the Diversity Visa laws established by Congress for immigrants from countries with low numbers of immigrants to the United States. The proclamation would affect immigration applications for immigrants who are typically eligible for visas.

In filing the amicus brief, led by California and Oregon, Attorney General Tong is joining a coalition of attorneys general of Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. New York City also joined the amicus brief.
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