ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York will continue to provide Medicaid benefits to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — no matter what officials in Washington do with the program that protected them from deportation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by former Democratic President Barack Obama protected certain immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation. But Republican President Donald Trump decided to stop DACA. What happens to those in the program is now under discussion in Washington.
New York isn’t waiting for a resolution, however, and will guarantee that all 42,000 New York residents impacted by DACA keep their Medicaid benefits even if the federal program goes away.
“The federal government’s failure to take action to protect DACA recipients is appalling, un-American, unjust and puts hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said Tuesday. “We will not allow vitriol and dysfunction to put lives at risk.”
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Cuomo also supports extending state college financial aid programs to students without legal status. He has supported that initiative, called the Dream Act, for years. That measure also would apply to the state’s new Excelsior Scholarship, which aims to make tuition at state colleges free for low-income and middle-class students.
The Dream Act has long been held up in New York by Republican opponents in the state Senate.