Immigration status and the Affordable Care Act

Healthcare-for-ImmigrantsNational rollout of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has been extremely spotty, to the great frustration of those who need it most. Now it appears that one of the many reasons the program has gained so few participants in its initial phase is that many eligible Americans are worried about drawing attention to their family members, who are undocumented immigrants.

So-called “mixed families” are increasingly common in the U.S.; the Urban Institute estimates that nearly one in four children under the age of eight has at least one immigrant parent.

Puente is spreading the word that undocumented family members have nothing to fear. Recently the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an important clarification, stating that undocumented parents can enroll their young children in government-subsidized or private health care programs under the Affordable Care Act without triggering an investigation.

Furthermore, it’s not just American citizens who are eligible to purchase health care though the “marketplace”: people with green cards, work visas, student visas, asylum applications and other designations also qualify. Unfortunately, DACA youth (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) do not, but are eligible for some health coverage options in San Mateo County.

The National Immigration Law Center is an indispensable resource for questions about the Affordable Care Act from an immigration/low-income perspective, including questions about qualifying for Medicaid and tax breaks. Visit

Puente is here to help you enroll in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act as well as other State and County health coverage! Contact Safety Net Manager Lorena Vargas de Mendez directly at (650) 879-1691 ext. 116 or at

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