In a final push to encourage Hispanics to enroll in Obamacare before the March 31 deadline, President Barack Obama has said that immigration officials will not obtain information from the healthcare program that could lead to deportations.
"The main thing for people to know is that any information you get, you know, asked with respect to buying insurance, does not have anything to do with … the rules governing immigration," Obama said in an interview with Univision Deportes, according to The Hill
"If you have a family where some people are citizens or legally here, and others are not documented, the immigration people will never get that information," he added. "You will qualify, you know, regardless of what your family's status is. So, you know, people should not hold back just because they're in a mixed-family status."
The message comes during the administration's Latino Enrollment Week of Action amid concerns that Hispanic enrollment is lagging.
One Hispanic group, however, said families are wary of Obama's assurances.
"It's a big concern of mixed status families — they hear [the president's] assurance, but because of the level of deportations that have happened, there's a lot of families that don't know whether they can trust that assurance," Adolf Falcon, senior vice president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, told The Hill.
The Obama administration during the president's first four years in office deported people at a faster rate than any of the four previous administrations, according to The Hill.
Falcon said his group receives about 4,000 calls a week from potential Hispanic consumers asking for information about the healthcare exchanges, many of whom are from mixed-status families and fearful about possible consequences for relatives if they enroll.
For example, a family with a parent in the country illegally who would not be eligible for Obamacare would still need to enroll children who are eligible, leading to worries that their status will be uncovered by the authorities.
Hispanics have the highest rate of uninsured of any ethnic group in the country, according to The Hill. The White House estimates there are 10.2 million uninsured Hispanics eligible for Obamacare, 8.1 million of whom are likely eligible for tax credits.
Hispanics have also struggled to enroll because the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, has had significant problems since its rollout, The Hill reported.
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