Biden reverses Trump order barring immigrants who cannot afford healthcare
President Biden on Friday revoked a 2019 proclamation signed by then-President Trump that prevented immigrants from obtaining visas unless they proved they could obtain health insurance or pay for health care.
Biden said in his own proclamation signed Friday afternoon that the October 2019 order “does not advance the interests of the United States.”
“My Administration is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Biden’s proclamation states. “We can achieve that objective, however, without barring the entry of noncitizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”
Biden ordered leaders at the departments of State, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to “review any regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions developed pursuant to” the 2019 proclamation and issue “revised guidance” as appropriate that reflects his own policy.
The action represented Biden’s latest effort to roll back a policy of the previous administration. It came minutes after the White House made public an executive order revoking the “National Garden of American Heroes” that Trump ordered built last year.
Biden has been under pressure to undo Trump’s restrictive immigration policies in particular. Upon taking office, Biden signed executive orders upholding the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and repealing Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations.
Biden has proposed immigration reform legislation but has remained focused on his infrastructure and families plans, which he unveiled earlier this year. Lawmakers have introduced similar immigration proposals in Congress but there has not been significant movement on any legislation to date and Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on how to address the issue.
The president’s proclamation on Friday came as he met with a group of DACA recipients in the Oval Office, in an effort to signal that immigration reform is a priority.
Trump’s 2019 proclamation required that visa applicants verify they will be covered by an approved health insurer within 30 days of entering the United States or have the ability to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The order included some exceptions, including refugees and children of U.S. citizens.
“Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” read Trump’s proclamation.