National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Senate Says “No” to Politics of Fear, “Yes” to Health Care for Children

January 31, 2009

Senate Protects Access to Health Insurance for Millions of Children, Including Immigrant Children

Washington, DCYesterday, the Senate passed a bill (H.R. 2) to reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), returning the bill to the House, which plans to quickly finalize it for President Obama’s signature. The bi-partisan bill passed by an impressive margin of 66 – 32 and included long fought-for improvements by child and healthcare advocates. Those changes included allowing States the option to remove a five-year waiting period for enrollment in state CHIP programs and Medicaid  for legal immigrant children and pregnant women. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.

The National Immigration Forum celebrates the leadership of Senators on both sides of the aisle who voted this week to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, H.R. 2) , ensuring that 11 million children from low-income families get the health insurance they need.  The bill will reach President Obama’s desk because both the House and the Senate came together to reject the tired, failed, politics of fear that sought to demonize immigrants. In protecting the eligibility of some immigrant children, legislators found common ground and a practical solution to solve an urgent national problem.

The attempt by the some obsessive politicians to exclude and deny immigrant children, even those with legal status, from getting this health insurance was another example of what Congress can expect from extremist positions. The use of immigrants as scapegoats to delay or stop important pieces of legislation is divisive, dangerous, and in the end, a losing tactic.

The economic crisis is worsening, and the American people need their elected officials to act.


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