IMMIGRANTS: GOP Silent on Restoring Welfare Benefits
The fear of angering minority voters has squelched GOP opposition to President Clinton's proposal to restore some welfare benefits to immigrants, the Los Angeles Times reports. Clinton's $1.3 billion proposal would aid legal immigrants who have entered the U.S. since welfare reforms were enacted two years ago, restoring health coverage to 55,000 children, prenatal care for 23,000 women, care for 54,000 disabled immigrants and food stamps for 15,000 elderly immigrants.
Well ... Okay
The Times reports that the Republicans' "muted response is a sign of the times" -- recognition of the growing political power of Latino and Asian-American voters. Joel Najar, an immigrant policy analyst with the Latino civil rights group National Council of La Raza, said, [I]t's a good opportunity for Republicans to put their money where their mouth is in their outreach to minority populations" (Schrader, 2/8). Some advocates for immigrants, however, contend that the changes do not go far enough. Margie McHugh, executive director of the New York Immigrant Coalition, noted that many legal immigrants are working in jobs without health insurance, and that "preventing them access to Medicaid ... [bars] them from the single most important program that working immigrant families needed" and from crucial preventive measures. For instance, a legal immigrant with diabetes cannot get insulin through Medicaid, "but as a result of insulin deprivation, you go into a coma -- then the hospital can treat you," said Gary Rubin, public policy director of the New York Association for New Americans (Yan, 2/7).