MALDEF

More Failed Federal Policies

When comprehensive immigration reform failed to pass in the summer of 2006, anti-immigrant sentiment pushed Congress to pass federal rules restricting undocumented immigrants from receiving government benefits. Because undocumented immigrants were already ineligible for these types of benefits, critics said the laws were passed in an attempt to placate false perceptions that undocumented immigrants were burdening government services. Recently, the Associated Press reported that these federal immigration rules have negatively impacted state budgets and have done little to reduce illegal immigration:
Federal rules aimed at catching illegal immigrants have cost Kansas up to $1 million and caused thousands of eligible Kansans to lose their health insurance.

Despite the cost, the rules led to the arrest of only one illegal immigrant, officials said Wednesday . . .

The federal rules implemented July 1, 2006, require Medicaid recipients to provide proof of citizenship.

That produced a logjam of processing current recipients and new applicants. Many residents had to request copies of their birth certificates from other states, slowing the process.

Kansas Medicaid director Andy Allison said 20,000 eligible Kansans lost health insurance. And the state had to spend about $1 million to hire more personnel to handle telephone calls, applications and determine eligibility.
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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund