NBC NEWS – More than a quarter of young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program lack health insurance and face burdens preventing them from accessing care, according to new data first shared with NBC News.
A report published Friday by the immigrant rights nonprofit group National Immigration Law Center, documenting the findings of a recent survey, finds that 27% of DACA recipients reported not being covered by any kind of health insurance or other health care plan.
The results suggest that of the more than 580,000 young adults without legal status [that is, illegal – HH] who are allowed to work and study without fear of deportation under the Obama-era DACA program, almost 157,000 are estimated to be uninsured.
The survey was conducted last year with 817 DACA recipients.
It was administered by Tom K. Wong, founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego, with the help of United We Dream, the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led organization, the Center for American Progress policy institute and the National Immigration Law Center.
A previous version of the survey conducted in 2021 found the DACA uninsured rate to be at 34%. Kica Matos, president of the National Immigration Law Center, attributed the slight dip to “a healthier economic climate.”
“The last survey was done when we were still in the middle of the pandemic, so we believe that economic trends have since improved … This likely means there are more DACA recipients that are employed and therefore have access to health care” through their employers, she said.
Of the DACA recipients who reported having health insurance, 80% said they were covered through an employer or union.
But unlike most in America, if DACA recipients lose their job and with that their health insurance, they can’t fall back on federal health insurance programs, which are often more affordable but are only available to those with legal immigration status … READ MORE.