WASHINGTON – On May 25, Senator Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) introduced the Lifting Immigrant Families Through Benefits Access Restoration Act (LIFT the BAR Act, S 4311). The LIFT the BAR Act removes barriers to public benefits, including Medicaid, for lawfully present non-citizens. The Senate bill is a companion bill to HR 5227 that was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) last September.

Juliet K. Choi, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) issued the following statement:

“We applaud Senator Hirono for introducing the LIFT the BAR Act in the Senate. This bill restores access to Medicaid, CHIP and other public benefits that many in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are prevented from accessing because of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, also known as the Welfare Reform Act.

“Nearly 70 percent of AAs and NHPIs are immigrants, and many also live in mixed status households. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that all families, no matter immigration status, have access to basic necessities. The LIFT the BAR Act offers families with this access and remedies decades-long harm to our communities. With the start of Immigrant Heritage Month, we urge Congress to stand with immigrant families and pass the LIFT the BAR Act.”

APIAHF is an Executive and Steering Committee member of the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) collaborative. More information about the LIFT the BAR Act can be found on the PIF website.

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The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.