Welcome back to Visalawerblog! It is another exciting week in the world of immigration. In this blog post, we talk about a new Presidential Proclamation signed on May 14, 2021, by President Biden entitled, “A Proclamation on Revoking Proclamation 9945,” designed to revoke a previously issued Trump era proclamation.
As our readers may recall, back on October 4, 2019, then President Donald Trump passed Proclamation 9945, with the goal of suspending the entry of immigrants found to be a financial burden on the United States health care system. Proclamation 9945 went into effect on November 3, 2019, and required immigrant visa applicants to show to the satisfaction of a Consular officer, that either:
- They would be covered by approved health insurance, as defined in Presidential Proclamation 9945, within 30 days of their entry to the United States, or
- They possessed the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.
To enforce the Proclamation, Consular officers would verbally ask immigrant visa applicants whether they would be covered by health insurance in the U.S. within 30 days of their entry, and for details relating to their insurance policy including identification of the specific health insurance plan, date of commencement of coverage, and such related information.
Immigrant visa applicants who could not provide either of these requirements would not be issued an immigrant visa.
Proclamation 9945 applied only to immigrant visas and did not apply to nonimmigrant visa applicants, nor to applicants for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Under Proclamation 9945 “approved” health insurance included the following plans or programs:
- an employer-sponsored plan, including a retiree plan, association health plan, and coverage provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985;
- an unsubsidized health plan offered in the individual market within a State;
- a short-term limited duration health policy effective for a minimum of 364 days – or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
- a catastrophic plan;
- a family member’s plan;
- a medical plan under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program;
- a visitor health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care for a minimum of 364 days—or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
- a medical plan under the Medicare program; or
- any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee.
For persons over the age of 18, approved health insurance did not include coverage under the Medicaid program.
Immigrant visa applicants who could not show “approved health insurance” coverage were then required to show that they possessed financial resources sufficient to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs relating to health issues existing at the time of visa adjudication.
As of May 14, 2021, Proclamation 9945 has been immediately revoked by the Biden administration, meaning that it will no longer be enforced at U.S. Consulates or Embassies worldwide against immigrant visa applicants. The proclamation highlights that the Trump era action no longer advances the interests of the United States and is at odds with Biden’s Executive Order 14012 enforced on February 2, 2021.
Pursuant to the revoked Proclamation, the Secretary of State, Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Homeland Security have all been ordered to immediately review agency actions relating to Proclamation 9945, and issue revised guidance to immediately halt its application.
This action by the Biden administration is yet further confirmation of the administration’s commitment to facilitate legal immigration to the United States and restore the integrity of our immigration system.
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