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Four Republican senators are raising concerns about the Biden administration’s recent announcement to make immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status eligible for government-backed health care coverage. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Sens. Marsha Blackburn, Kevin Cramer, Mike Lee, and J.D. Vance demanded more details about the plan and its potential impact, estimating it could affect around 100,000 DACA recipients.

The senators criticized the administration’s decision, especially amid record numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. They argue that prioritizing health care coverage for immigrants sends a message that addressing the border crisis is not a priority for the Biden administration. They pointed out economic challenges such as rising inflation, slowing job growth, and increased unemployment, questioning the rationale behind providing free health care coverage to immigrants while American citizens face financial hardships.

The Biden administration’s rule change redefining “lawfully present” to include DACA recipients facilitated this decision, allowing them to enroll in Obamacare. The rule is set to take effect just before the presidential election, with DACA recipients becoming eligible for coverage starting November 1. The senators are seeking legal justification for expanding Obamacare eligibility without congressional approval and want clarity on the costs and whether the coverage extends to DACA recipients’ family members.

They referenced a federal judge’s ruling in Texas last year, which deemed the DACA program unconstitutional due to exceeding executive branch authority without congressional backing. The judge emphasized that such policy decisions should be legislated by Congress rather than enacted through executive or judicial actions. The case is currently under review at the appeals court level and may eventually reach the Supreme Court, highlighting the legal complexities surrounding DACA and related policies.

The senators’ letter reflects broader conservative concerns about immigration policy, government spending, and the balance of powers between branches of government. They argue that addressing immigration challenges requires legislative solutions and adherence to constitutional processes, rather than executive actions that bypass congressional oversight.