California extends health coverage to undocumented immigrants
July 11, 2019
Existing law requires that individuals under 19 years of age enrolled in restricted-scope Medi-Cal at the time the Director of Health Care Services makes a determination that systems have been programmed for implementation of these provisions be enrolled in the full scope of Medi-Cal benefits, if otherwise eligible. Existing law requires the department to maximize federal financial participation in implementing the provisions.
This bill would extend eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals 19 to 25 years of age, inclusive, and who are otherwise eligible for those benefits but for their immigration status. This bill would additionally require the department to claim federal financial participation to the extent that the department determines it is available, and to the extent that federal financial participation is not available, would require the department to use state funds. Because counties are required to make eligibility determinations and this bill would expand Medicaid eligibility, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The bill will cover around 138,000 individuals according to State of California budget estimates.
Building upon the children’s Medi-Cal expansion under Chapter 18, Statutes of 2015 (SB 75), the Budget includes $260 million ($196.5 million General Fund) to expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to eligible young adults aged 19 through 25 regardles of immigration status, starting no sooner than July 1, 2019. About 75 percent of these adults are currently in the Medi-Cal system, and are either receiving restricted-scope benefits or services under SB 75. This expansion will provide full-scope coverage to approximately 138,000 undocumented adults in the first year.
Individuals earning a salary above 138 percent of the federal poverty level will not qualify for Medi-Cal coverage under the new legislation.
Supreme Court rules certain immigrants do not have right to bond hearing
March 19, 2019
The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in Nielsen v. Preap that immigrants who have committed certain crimes are not entitled to a bond hearing and once detained can be held in federal custody until their removal proceedings are resolved.
In an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court overturned two Ninth Circuit decisions (Preap v. Johnson and Khoury v. Asher) that held that aliens who were not immediately detained upon release from criminal custody were entitled to a bond hearing.
This class action suit arose under 8 USC § 1226, known as the “mandatory detention provision” of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This provision, in relevant part, mandates that “the Attorney General shall take into custody any alien who … is deportable by reason of having committed any offense covered in section … when the alien is released.”
Plaintiffs, mostly green-card holders, argue that, because they were not immediately taken into custody upon completing their sentences, they are not covered by the mandatory detention provision. Many of the plaintiffs lived and worked in the US for years upon release and argue that they should be considered for bond release, rather than detention, while their removal orders are being processed.
The court’s majority disagreed, finding more persuasive the Trump administration’s argument that the government’s duty to detain aliens who have committed certain crimes is not abrogated if the government fails to detain the individual immediately upon release. In closing his opinion, Alito emphasized that the court did not consider the constitutionality of the mandatory detention provision because that question was not brought by the plaintiffs in this case.
In a brief concurrence joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that various statutes limit judicial review in this cases, noting that the Districts Courts likely did not have jurisdiction.
Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor, focused primarily on the statute’s text, finding that:
The language of the statute will not bear the broad interpretation the majority now adopts. Rather, the ordinary meaning of the statute’s language, the statute’s structure, and relevant canons of interpretation all argue convincingly to the contrary.
In announcing his dissent, Breyer also cited concerns with the powers the majority’s opinion grants to the government: “It is a power to detain persons who committed a minor crime many years before. And it is a power to hold those persons, perhaps for many months, without any opportunity to obtain bail.”