CHIRLA considers access to healthcare a basic human right and fights for better health care that includes immigrants at the federal, state and local level. Most often, we do this work in coalitions.
When Congress enacted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, CHIRLA worked within what became the CIPC to pass state measures such as the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), to help poor affected families gain an economic foothold. Later, when healthcare reform failed in California in 2008, we joined the Having Our Say coalition to ensure immigrants were included.
Nationally, the push for healthcare reform gained ground in 2008 as President Obama made it a centerpiece of his agenda. CHIRLA joined Health Care for America, a national coalition to build support for the move. After the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) passed, CHIRLA in 2013 received a grant from CoveredCalifornia to identify more than 130,000 people who could benefit. This work and our advocacy helped when California expanded full-scope MediCal to all children, regardless of status, in 2016.
Locally, CHIRLA worked to convince Los Angeles County supervisors about the benefits of My Health LA, a preventive health program for undocumented immigrants. In 2014, supervisors voted to expand it.
In 2019, the Trump administration announced it was expanding the definition of public charge, a test the federal government uses in deciding whether to grant permanent residency to some immigrants. CHIRLA has worked hard to inform the immigrant community about what this policy does and doesn’t mean, to clear confusion and ensure immigrants who qualify for public benefits receive them.