President Barack Obama, last week, assured Latinos that information used to file for health insurance coverage under the nation’s new healthcare laws — sometimes called “Obamacare”— won’t be shared with other government agencies or lead to possible deportation.
Last year, a story in the National Journal reported that Latino families remained skeptical of the new healthcare laws. Many families, the story reported, are of mixed immigration status, meaning the children were born in this country and here legally while the parents were still considered illegal. Such a situation, it is believed, made parents reluctant to seek coverage for their children because they fear that information, revealed through the application process, could lead to their deportation and the family being torn apart.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a letter assuring people that the information would not be shared. Many, though, believe such assurances haven’t been enough.
"I think something from the president himself would be helpful,” Daniel Zingale was quoted as saying in the National Journal story. Zingale is senior vice president with California Endowment, an organization which has fought to get Latinos signed up for health coverage.
At last week’s town hall meeting, hosted by Telemundo and Univision, the president sought to provide that personal assurance. According to a story in the Weekly Standard, when asked, as part of the questioning, "Will we hear from you a pledge, a personal promise, that the information provided in the registration process will not be used for deportation purposes in this country?” Obama responded, “Aboslutely.”
In finishing up his answer, the president further reassured Latinos, particularly those in mixed-status families.
“So for everybody out there who is in a mixed family, there is no sharing of the data from the health care plan into immigration services,” the president said. “They should feel confident.”
Obama has faced skepticism from the Latino community recently as deportation efforts along the southern border of the country have increased. The Detroit Free Press reports that the president attempted to push back against those worries at the meeting, saying that he believes the Latino community knows, “I’ve got their back.”