NOI 21: A Public Charge Immigration Policy on Health Insurance and Apple’s Position on DACA

The Trump administration has issued a new policy aimed at immigrants his administration believes could become a public charge.

Jacob Tingen: Welcome again to Nation of Immigrants. It is another day and another US immigration policy affecting what I do for a living, and what many of you … Just, frankly, your lives. So today we’re going to talk primarily about a new policy on health insurance and legal immigration, and then I wanted to spend some time on DACA, it’s coming up in the Supreme Court, and just some interesting headlines on Apple’s recent filing amicus brief in that litigation. So welcome once again to Nation of Immigrants.

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President Obama: America is a nation of immigrants.

Announcer: A podcast about US immigration law with your host, Jacob Tingen.

Jacob Tingen: All right. Well, here we are. Like I said, I found a couple of headlines that I found that were interesting. First off, I wanted to touch base on this new health insurance initiative that’s coming out. It goes to this core of this public charge reasoning, this public charge argument that we’ve talked about a couple of times and that I’m aware that influences and impacts a number of lives, my clients and lots of US citizens all around. What’s interesting is that presumably the purpose behind a lot of these immigration policies is that it’s hurting the US it’s hurting US citizens, that immigration is bad for us. And of course I don’t support that idea, that concept in any way. But what’s interesting is that a lot of these latest public charge announcements that have come from the Trump administration directly affect US citizens because the people that they impact are family members of US citizens in many, many instances.

Jacob Tingen: So what this latest presidential proclamation goes after is that, again, it’s a public charge issue. So the president … The proclamation is on whitehouse.gov, and that it is literally titled presidential proclamation on the suspension of entry of immigrants who will financially burden the United States healthcare system. And what it says in a nutshell is that if you have an immigrant visa and you’re coming to the US, we will find that you are a public charge on the US if you don’t have enough income or the means or some other way to show that you will have health insurance when you enter the US.

Jacob Tingen: Now, if that is already sounding a little unfair to you, it does to me too. It adds an extra burden, an extra hurdle to jump over that immigrants haven’t had to jump over. I guess for some people they might see this and say, “Well, that sounds reasonable, but at the same time, I’m supposed to have that figured out before I even get here?” And then additionally, remember who this impacts is, strangely, family members of US citizens. So the people who are most effected by this policy are going to be spouses of US citizens, going to be parents of US citizens, going to be children of US citizens.

Jacob Tingen: So I don’t understand how this really fits within even the propaganda or the rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration about immigration, because he was supposed to be helping US citizens. And this policy directly prevents US citizens from reuniting with their family no matter where they might be in the world. For example, if you are a US citizen, you go on a study abroad and you meet someone and fall in love and then you get married, you want to bring that person to the U S you know, if you’re still a student, you don’t have health insurance, and they won’t either. They’re not coming. I mean, that’s what this policy says.

Jacob Tingen: So it’s kind of fascinating that he would roll out a policy that so clearly impacts in a negative way US citizens who do things internationally, who meet people from other walks of life. And so it just seems a little strange. I expect this particular proclamation, this executive action, will encounter some kind of of litigation as many policies have in the past. It’s supposed to take effect November 3rd, but I expect, again, as is frequently the case, some type of injunction blocking this from going into effect, but who knows? It could go into effect. We’ve seen some interesting turnarounds in immigration policy in the courts lately and so the courts are very involved in how this all goes down, but that’s kind of another public charge update.

Jacob Tingen: If this is your first time listening to nation of immigrants for a greater public charge discussion, you might want to look at episode one where we discussed public charge. We launched the podcast shortly after Ken Cuccinelli had announced an initial public charge policy, and then we also discussed it, I believe, in episode five. Now we’re following up with it today and we’re seeing more action on the Trump administration, and I think the justification for these policies is coming from this whole public charge concept.

Jacob Tingen: So that’s it. Yeah. Immigrants who can’t pay for their own health insurance, their own healthcare, are going to be denied visas under the current policy unless it is modified or blocked or revoked in some way. All right, well, so that’s it for that piece of today’s episode. I also wanted to talk about what we’re going to see happening here soon when it to deferred action for childhood arrivals. For those of you who don’t know, deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA, or some less informed news outlets will just call it the dreamer program. There was no … I mean, there was some legislation proposed that was going to be the dream act, but it never got passed.

Jacob Tingen: So what we have is we have DACA, deferred action for childhood arrivals. It was announced, I believe, in 2012. Basically it allowed people who had been brought to the US as children prior to, I think, June 15th, 2007 and who subsequently graduated from high school or were in school and present in the US and had had continual presence from that 2007 date to when it was announced in 2012, that group of people could apply for a work permit. The idea being that the Obama administration was exercising its prosecutorial discretion. They essentially said, “This category of immigrants … We can’t deport everybody. We have limited resources. We’re going to focus on deporting immigrants with criminal records.” That was what the Obama administration had done and they said, “We’re going to just indicate that we won’t prosecute people who fit these criteria, these positive discretionary criteria, and we’re going to give them work permits in the meantime.”

Jacob Tingen: So a large group of people applied for deferred action, DACA, and then that policy was going to be revoked under the Trump administration. When the Trump administration was going to revoke DACA, there was this big push in Congress and it looked like they were going to actually act and do something to help people who qualify for DACA. And then it got stopped in the courts and Congress said, “I don’t have to do anything.” And they haven’t done anything, and the litigation continues. It is now approaching the Supreme Court to take a look at deferred action for childhood arrivals. What’s interesting here is people are getting involved.

Jacob Tingen: So Apple, Apple, you know, Apple. The phones, the computers, everything. So these people have filed what’s known as an amicus brief. So, amicus, I guess, is Latin for friend, I think? Spanish amigo, right? So they’ve filed a friend brief in favor of DACA recipients in this ongoing litigation. What’s interesting is that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple has, I guess, been personally involved in this amicus brief, which is kind of cool. But basically he mentions that they have upwards of 400 people, 443 dreamers, or people that have DACA who are employees of Apple, and he mentions their contributions.

Jacob Tingen: Now, he mentions that they have 443 and I guess in the brief they pull out three particular stories of people who have DACA and just talks about some of the difficulties that they face and it talks about how much value they bring to Apple. A company … One of the most innovative and creative companies in the world. One of the most … Well, frankly, one of the biggest, most advanced technology companies around. Basically Tim Cook says, “Hey, we need DACA. We need these kids. We need these people.” And a lot of them aren’t kids anymore, they’re grown up.

Jacob Tingen: So what’s fascinating is that some of the reports that I’ve read said that it would actually cost our economy something like 400 billion dollars if we deported all of these DACA kids. If we took all of them and the value that they contribute to our society, and we said, “You know what? We’re no longer going to protect them. We’re going to get rid of them. They don’t belong in our country.” It would literally cost our nation a net loss of billions of dollars.

Jacob Tingen: Now I’m glad that people have put together that data for DACA. But I think that that’s also true for many, many immigrants. Even those without lawful status. And remember, DACA immigrants didn’t have lawful status, and they technically still don’t. All they have is a protection against deportation, and authority to work. But they don’t actually have legal status or a path to a green card or a path to citizenship. So these DACA kids undoubtedly contribute to our economy, and to our society. And people recognize this and they see this. I would posit that we also have people who don’t fit within DACA, people who’d been present within essentially a five year period that was just arbitrarily picked, who also contribute to contribute to our society.

Jacob Tingen: So the Obama administration did what it did and it picked just an arbitrary five years of people to reward, I guess. But the thing is is that there are other groups of people, other groups of immigrants who don’t have legal status, who also have extensive positive discretionary factors, who could contribute to our economy. And the ways that they can contribute to our economy go directly against the current rhetoric that we’re hearing that immigrants aren’t good for us and that they’re public charge.

Jacob Tingen: I say we should give these immigrants a chance. I say we should give these people a chance and see what they can do in our economy. I remember when DAPA was announced, which was, I guess, the parental version of DACA, so deferred action for parents. I was honestly thinking, “Gosh, how much would our economy benefit if suddenly all of these people had work authorization, could come out of the shadows, could do things that they definitely expressed they want to do?” They’d energize our economy, they’d buy homes.

Jacob Tingen: I’ve had clients or people who come in for consults who own lots of businesses. I mean, for example, there is an EB-5 visa for millionaire investors. About once every other month or so, I’ll have an immigrant who I would not suspect of being a millionaire come in and say, “Well, I’ve got a business and I’ve heard that I can get legal status with a million dollars.” And I’ll say, “You have a million dollars in the bank?” They’re like, “Yeah, I could sell one of my multiple homes and have a million dollars in the bank if I needed it. Will that help me?” And what’s interesting is the answer to that question is no, no. Due to unlawful presence because of this bar, because they entered unlawfully, and yet they’ve got this entrepreneurial spirit, they’ve been successful, but we won’t let them get legal status. We won’t let them invest more of their money into our economy. What are we doing? What are we doing?

Jacob Tingen: So I’m glad that companies like Apple are standing up and saying, “Hey, no, these DACA immigrants contribute to one of the most innovative and creative companies in the entire world in a positive way.” So thank you Apple for filing that. I definitely appreciate what you’re doing, and I hope more companies get involved in the area of immigration, and particularly in this policy debate and pushing for positive reforms for immigration in our country.

Jacob Tingen: So thanks again for listening to Nation of Immigrants. That’s it for today’s episode. What I hope happens here is that as you listen, to Nation of Immigrants and and you hear and follow, find us on YouTube, follow us there, find us on Facebook and Twitter, and then also visit us at JacobTingen.com. I’ve got a page for the podcast there and we’re finalizing our setup on the 501(c)(3). So you can donate, support the podcast, and any funds donated there we’re going to direct towards immigrant legal bills. So yeah, come support the cast, the podcast, follow, retweet, do all those things. Thanks again for listening and we will see you next time.

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