Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and were protected from deportation under an Obama-era executive order will be able to obtain health care through Obamacare under a new rule being published Friday by the Biden administration.

Those who are protected via the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, along with other illegal immigrants, are currently prohibited from accessing healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. A rule announced Friday will end that prohibition.

The administration says it predicts that the rule, which will go into effect just days before the 2024 presidential election, will result in over 100,000 uninsured illegal immigrants accessing health insurance. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule would allow DACA recipients to apply for coverage through HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces as soon as November 1. The rule does so by making what HHS calls “technical modifications” to the definition of “lawfully present” used to determine eligibility.


Former President Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama protected illegal immigrants with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In a statement on the rule, President Biden renewed his calls for those he called “Dreamers” — an activist-preferred term to refer to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors — to be granted a pathway to citizenship along with others of millions of illegal immigrants.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed. That’s why I’ve previously directed the Department of Homeland Security to take all appropriate actions to ‘preserve and fortify’ DACA. And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors,” he said.

“On Day One of my administration, I sent a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress to protect Dreamers and their families. Only Congress can provide Dreamers permanent status and a pathway to citizenship. Congress must act.”

Vice President Harris, in a separate statement, made a similar appeal.

President Joe Biden speaking at podium

President Biden wants to see an amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

“President Biden and I will continue to do everything in our power to protect DACA, but it is only a temporary solution. Congress must act to ensure Dreamers have the permanent protections they deserve,” she said.

The push for health care and citizenship for illegal immigrants has regularly met with fierce opposition from Republicans. When Obamacare was unveiled by President Barack Obama, he faced accusations that the legislation would give health care to illegal immigrants — with one GOP congressman yelling, “You lie” at the president during a joint session of Congress.


Migrants picked up by human smugglers in broad daylight Video

The Trump administration attempted to end DACA but was blocked by the Supreme Court in 2020. A separate lawsuit, filed in 2021, is still ongoing and blocked further enrollments in the program are blocked after a federal appeals court found that the Obama administration did not have the authority to institute the program. 


Democrats and the Biden administration have made repeated pushes for broader amnesties of illegal immigrants already in the U.S., but those efforts have failed amid unified opposition from Republicans who have rejected granting a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants amid an ongoing crisis at the southern border.

The Biden administration has claimed that it needs additional funding and reforms to fix a “broken” system that enables the crisis. Republicans have said that the administration needs instead to restore Trump-era policies that they believe can end the crisis.

Get the latest updates on the ongoing border crisis from the Fox News Digital immigration hub.

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