Resources for Immigrant Families First 5 SLO Health Access Project Immigrants Rights Resource List
Immigrant Rights Download Page Download this page and use the embedded links to access all the resources for immigrant families listed on this SLOHealthAccess webpage.
Promoting Healthy Immigrant Communities Key Take-Aways from Our Forums
Earlier this spring the Health Access Training Project hosted two forums on Promoting Healthy Immigrant Communities. Speakers presented on a number of services for immigrant families and provided insights on how to work with families in times of stress. The overarching theme that emerged from both forums is that families in our immigrant communities have been under-utilizing services they both need and qualify for. Rapidly changing immigration laws and policy pronouncements have created a climate of fear and confusion among SLO County's most vulnerable families. Below are the key take-aways from the forums to promote a healthy immigrant community: Informed Eligibility: Many agencies are noticing fewer families applying for services or are asking to be removed from programs. In fact, immigrant and children's eligibility for programs such as Med-Cal, CalFresh, housing and other related services have not changed. Since eligibility is determined on an individual basis, not for the entire family, it's important to have eligible members in a family apply for available programs, without regard for whether some family members may not be eligible. Know Your Rights: Distribution of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center's (ILRC) Know Your Rights cards have been helpful to reduce some fear in the immigrant community. Numerous agencies reported that informing clients about their rights if they are detained has become necessary as well. Family preparedness plans also help reduce stress during uncertain times. Please visit the SLO Health Access Training website Immigrant Rights Resource list to find links to numerous resources for immigrant families. Immigration Status is Confidential: Immigration status at all family serving agencies is confidential (unless legally requested by law enforcement with a valid warrant). Many entities have found that families fear requesting basic and necessary services since they erroneously believe that it will reveal their immigration status to an authority. Universal Messaging: Paz Padilla of Catholic Charities noted that all agencies need to come together to "create trust" in our immigrant community by having all child serving providers delivering the same factual information. A universal message of support will help dispel rumors and anxiety for families. As advocates for underserved children, the various child serving agencies in San Luis Obispo County are working hard to ensure children are healthy and safe. Being knowledgeable about available services and referring clients to other agencies in a timely manner is important to the health of children in our immigrant communities.
Immigrants Rights Resource List: Quick Links KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Cards Red Rights Cardsfrom the ILRC (print or order)
Questions about eligibility for health coverage? Submit your question on our Q&A page or Contact Us.
DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (February 2018)
DACA is a program created by President Obama that provided work permits and a deferral of deportation for certain immigrants who were brought to the US as children without legal authorization. In California, DACA recipients are also eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal.
On September 5, 2017, President Trump directed the federal immigration authorities to phase out DACA over the next two and a half years. Under the Executive Order the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to process all pending INITIAL applications accepted as of September 5, 2017, but reject other initial applications. All RENEWAL applications filed before October 5, 2017 are also being processed for those whose status was scheduled to expire before March 5, 2018.
News update: On January 9, 2018, a federal judge ordered the federal government to halt the termination of DACA. On January 13, 2018, USCIS announced its process for accepting renewal applications. USCIS also stated that further guidance about DACA renewal applications under the court order would be provided later.
The federal court order is subject to appeals and may change at any time. Keep posted.
Other DACA information: Individuals with a current, unexpired grant of DACA status will continue to hold DACA until it expires. Upon expiration, USCIS will not refer DACA recipients to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation unless they pose a risk to national security or public safety, or they meet CIS criteria for a Notice to Appear.
If an immigrant has a current work permit, it remains valid until expiration. There is no obligation to inform an employer that DACA has ended, nor may an employer take any employment action until the work permit has expired.
At the expiration of DACA status, individuals may still remain eligible for Medi-Cal under the category know as Permanently Residing Under Color of Law (PRUCOL).
New Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) California employers must now comply with the new Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), which became effective on January 1, 2018. Under the new law, employers may not voluntarily consent to an immigration enforcement agent entering a non-public area at a place of employment unless the agent provides a judicial warrant. Employers may not grant voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to access, review or obtain employee records without a “subpoena or judicial warrant.”
In addition, an employer must give written notice to employees and their authorized representative (e.g., union) of any immigration agency’s review of employment records within 72 hours of receiving the request. Employers cannot re-verify a current employee’s employment eligibility, except as otherwise required under federal law. And employers must provide “affected employees” (i.e., those identified by the immigration agency as possibly lacking work authorization) with a copy of the immigration agency’s notice of the employer’s receipt of the results of the inspection.
Important Immigration Information (August 2017)
Immigrant families are justifiably concerned about their families' abilities to peacefully live, work and be educated in our country. There is a heightened anxiety due to the increased threats of arrest, detention and deportation. Families are reluctant to go out in public and children are scared that they may come home to find their parents gone. Social services agencies and schools have reported a growing number of questions about how receiving services will affect their immigration status. Proposed sweeping changes to federal immigration policy could have a disproportionate effect on California, where 50 percent of children have at least one immigrant parent, compared to 25 percent nationwide.
Providing support and accurate information to immigrant families is essential in these turbulent times. Being available outside of regular office hours, making home visits, and understanding the stresses that families are facing will help facilitate working with families. We will continue to provide updates on changes in immigration policies as they affect families with young children, and are available to answer any of your questions. All the immigrant rights material discussed below (and more) can be found on our website, SLOHealthAccess.org.
Key Takeaways From Recent Community Discussions: Current Status
The laws on eligibility for social services programs - Medi-Cal, CalFresh, School Lunch, etc. - have not changed. Those persons who were eligible before are still eligible.
The immigration laws have not changed - the DACA program remains in place and the permanent residency and citizenship laws have not changed. While the new federal Administration has sought changes, there has been no Congressional action on immigration. The same is true for U-Visas for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.
Families who want to get off of public programs for fear of jeopardizing their current or future immigration status should know that dropping out of a program does not purge the agency's system of their information. There is no reason not to continue receiving the services to which they are entitled.
Social services, educational and health agencies do not share their information with immigration authorities or other agencies except on issues of eligibility for services. This information is protected unless a Court orders otherwise.
Families should know their rights when dealing with immigration and other enforcement agencies. They do not need to let immigration agents enter the house or workplace without a warrant - they don't even need to answer the door. Silence is a right. There is no requirement to speak to an immigration agent.
The immigration authorities have policies that limit immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations including schools (including pre-school and daycare), school bus stops, health care facilities, places of worship, religious or civil ceremonies (such as weddings and funerals) and during public demonstrations.
"Getting legalized" is a difficult process for most undocumented immigrants and is generally not available. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is one potential avenue for work permits and protection from deportation. (It was created by and can be changed by Presidential Executive Order). Families should consult an immigration attorney, Catholic Charities(805.706.8565) or IMPORTA in Santa Barbara (805.604.5060).
Families should develop preparedness plans for all eventualities whether it is a natural disaster, a fire or an immigration raid. The plans should include plans for care of children and other dependents, collecting and keeping important family documents in a safe place, arranging family finances, and knowing who to call for help. A sample plan can be found on our website.
Parents who fear deportation should obtain a US passport for their citizen children as well passports for the children from the parent's country of origin (usually Mexico) so children can travel freely in both countries. The Mexican Consulate in Oxnard can help with Mexican passports and "matriculas".
The immigration authorities cannot enter a private area without permission or a warrant. Agencies and providers should delineate "public" and "private" areas. For example, a waiting room can be designated private for clients only. Staff and volunteers should be trained on what to do if there is a raid or immigration enforcement action.
Agencies should review their record retention policies and purge all records that are not relevant to the services that they provide.
Cultivating and maintaining personal and confidential relationships between family workers and families is essential to help families.
The National Immigration Law Center in partnership with the National Employment Law Project created a guide for employers titled What to Do if Immigration Comes to Your Workplace. This important resource covers how new immigration actions impact employers including employers' rights and responsibilities both in preparing for and after a visit from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
All income-eligible children, regardless of immigration status, can now access full-scope Medi-Cal coverage. This is a huge victory and is the result of efforts that began almost 20 years ago. Coverage began in May 2016.
Restricted Scope (Emergency) Medi-Cal
Immigrants who are not eligible for full scope Medi-Cal can receive emergency and pregnancy-related services under what is known as restricted-scope or emergency Medi-Cal. They will receive Medi-Cal cards noting their entitlement to services to treat an emergency medical condition or for pregnancy-related services. Applications are processed through the County Department of Social Services.
The term “emergency medical condition” means a medical condition that shows acute symptoms of sufficient severity, including severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:
(1) Placing the patient's health in serious jeopardy. (2) Serious impairment to bodily functions. (3) Serious dysfunction to any bodily organ or part.
Immigrants eligible for restricted or emergency Medi-Cal benefits can be pre-certified and apply in advance of needed health care services.
Hospital Presumptive Eligibilty
Under the Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (PE) program, hospitals can assist patients who are getting services from or being admitted to the hospital in applying for temporary fee-for-service full-scope Medi-Cal benefits. The applicant must be in a low-income family, must not currently have Medi-Cal and cannot have received PE within the past 12 months.
There are no questions about immigration status. Eligibility is for the month in which the application is filed and the following month. Eligibility continues during the application determination period if an application is filed. All SLO County hospitals are PE providers. More info at: http://files.medi-cal.ca.gov/pubsdoco/aca/aca_HPE_landing.asp
DACA & DAPA
President Obama created a program in 2012 to defer deportation for certain undocumented persons who came to the United States at a young age, have continually resided here, and are either in school or working. The program is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In California, people who successfully apply for DACA status are entitled to full-scope Medi-Cal if they otherwise qualify. (See PRUCOL Medi-Cal eligibility below).
In November, 2014, the President issued an Executive Order that expanded DACA and also allows for deferred action for undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children. The program is known as Deferred Action for Parent of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents (DAPA). This program is presently on hold due to a federal court injunction issued in Texas, and no DAPA applications are being accepted.
"PRUCOL" Medi-Cal Eligibility
In California, immigrants who are “permanently residing under color of law” (PRUCOL) are eligible for full scope Medi-Cal if they meet other eligibility criteria. Basically, PRUCOL status is for immigrants who the immigration authorities know are in the United States and have no intention of deporting.
Medi-Cal applicants may be asked to fill out the Statement of Citizenship, Alienage, and Immigration Status (MC13) in which they attest to their eligibility. There are multiple categories of eligibility. Applicants who have been granted status under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program check the box which says “an alien in deferred action status.” On the MC13, the last checkbox in Question 5 allows for an immigrant to attest: “An alien, not in one of the above categories, who can show that: (1) INS knows he/she is in the United States; and (2) INS does not intend to deport him/her, either because of the person’s status category or individual circumstances.”
There is no further documentation required by DSS to process the Medi-Cal application, if an applicant checks the last box. NILC Chart PRUCOL Sheet
Besides Medi-Cal, other programs provide health services to undocumented immigrants. These include California Children’s Services, Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Fund, AIM and WIC. Victims of trafficking and others are eligible as well. Review this chart for all categories of eligibility: NILC chart