President Obama, back in September 2009: “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.: “YOU LIE!”
Fact-checkers: How terrible Wilson shouted this! “Obama can make a pretty thorough case that reform doesn’t apply to those here illegally.”
Fast-forward to 2014, and lo and behold, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell “called for extending Obamacare benefits to DREAM-eligible illegal immigrants.”
Burwell was speaking on a public Google hangout with prominent Latina bloggers to promote Saturday’s opening of the Obamacare enrollment period when she shifted to her thoughts on immigration reform.
“DREAMers are not able to be covered in the marketplace. And this is an issue that I think is more than a health care issue — it is an immigration issue,” Burwell said in response to a question about whether families with mixed immigration statuses can get coverage.
“And I think everyone probably knows that this administration feels incredibly strongly about the fact that we need to fix that. We need to reform the system and make the changes that we need that will lead to benefits in everything from health care to economics to so many things — a very important step that we need to take as a nation.”
Only legal immigrants are eligible for Obamacare benefits, but liberal and pro-immigration groups have asked that Obamacare benefits be extended to illegal immigrants as well. Several groups have also advocated for the Obama administration to mandate Obamacare exchange eligibility for DREAMers, a term used to describe illegal immigrants who are granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.
Wilson wasn’t wrong. He was prescient.