Latinos Shun Obamacare Over Deportation Fears

Saturday, 28 Dec 2013 06:10 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Image: Latinos Shun Obamacare Over Deportation Fears
Elva Garcia gets help signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care act at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Centeron December 23, 2013 in Miami, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Latinos are wary of signing up for Obamacare because of fears that the information they provide might be used to deport them or members of their family.

"They're scared," Ledy Ordonez, 43, who lives in Fremont, Calif., told the San Francisco Chronicle. She has a clothing and jewelry stand at a farmer's market in Oakland. "They're afraid if they put in an application for their children ... they'll get deported."

While enrollment figures are not available yet from the Obama administration, healthcare advocates say fewer Hispanics are enrolling in the Affordable Care Act because of such concerns.

"These families are just very fearful whether it's true or not," Hilda Martinez, a manager for the California Endowment's "Get Covered" campaign, told the National Journal. "We don't have any reason to doubt the administration."

California Endowment has spent millions of dollars on outreach efforts in Spanish. With such a large Hispanic population, many in California would rather risk health issues than deportation, the Journal reports.

More than 1.9 million illegal immigrants have been deported since President Barack Obama took office, including more than 368,000 people this fiscal year, according to the Journal, even though that is down from 409,000 in fiscal 2012.

About 397,000 illegals were deported in fiscal 2011.

In addition, more than 52 million Hispanics live in the United States, making up one of the youngest, fastest-growing demographics in the country.

Talks on immigration reform have stalled in Washington, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has provided assurances by letter that any information submitted with Obamacare applications would not be used for enforcement purposes.

That's not enough, Daniel Zingale, California Endowment's senior vice president, told the Chronicle. "I think something from the president himself would be helpful," he said.

"There's this fear in the community that isn't just going to go away with a letter," Martinez told the Journal.

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