August 31, 2015

WASHINGTON–Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) issued the following statement recognizing the three-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA). APIAHF also released its best practices report examining how successful strategies used in health insurance outreach can be applied to DACA enrollment efforts.

“Over the last three years, the deferred action program has continuously proven its value, not just for immigrant families but for the entire country,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “With DACA, young adults and children can access services they would otherwise go without, enabling them to more fully participate in their communities. We must continue providing assistance to young adults and children and also continue supporting comprehensive immigration reform.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting DACA applications in August 2012. However, many young adults eligible for DACA still do not know if they are eligible or how to begin the process. The report examines challenges facing these young adults, including language barriers and misinformation. It then describes successful strategies used across the country to provide education and outreach about health insurance enrollment to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI). Coordination by community centers, translated resources and assistance with the application process were key ways to helping AAs and NHPIs enroll in health insurance. These strategies can be applied to DACA enrollment efforts as the health care enrollment process can be similarly confusing, challenging and in contrast with deeply held beliefs in some communities.

In April, APIAHF joined an amicus brief with the National Immigration Law Center and more than 150 organizations supporting President Obama’s immigration actions to allow millions of immigrants to apply for relief from deportation and work authorization. The brief includes profiles of small business owners, primary breadwinners and social activists who could increase their economic and societal contributions if granted the relief proposed by DACA.