Public Opinion Poll Shows Strong Support for Extending State Health Benefits to Undocumented Immigrants

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, a new public opinion poll shows that California voters are in favor of the state expanding health coverage and medical benefits to undocumented adults. Recently introduced by a group of lawmakers in Sacramento, Assembly Bill 4 (AB 4) would allow all low-income adults to enroll in Medi-Cal coverage, regardless of their current immigration status. Here, our Los Angeles immigration law attorneys provide an overview of the poll results and explain how sharply social attitudes have changed in California over the last few decades.

Poll Results: 66 Percent Support Among Adults, 58 Percent Support Among Likely Voters

Recently, the PPIC Statewide Survey for March 2021 was released. Researchers asked adults and likely voters for their views on a wide range of political and social topics, including the potential expansion of Medi-Cal benefits for low income undocumented immigrants. The question was straightforward and neutrally-phrased: Do you favor or oppose providing healthcare coverage for undocumented immigrants in California?” The results are as follows:

  • All Adults: 66 percent of Californians approve of expanding health coverage.
  • Likely Voters: 58 percent of those likely to vote are in favor of expanded coverage.

Notably, PPIC asked a similar question of our state’s voters in 2015. At that time, only 54 percent of all adults agreed that coverage should be expanded regardless of immigration status. Strong majorities of both Democrats and independent voters are in favor of expanding coverage.

Public Attitudes Have Changed Dramatically Since the Mid 1990s

In 1994, California voters supported Proposition 187—a ballot initiative that sought to deny undocumented immigrants access to a range of basic social services, including schooling and non-emergency medical treatment. Simply put, Proposition 187 was an anti-immigrant ballot measure. It never did become law in California. Prop 187 was the subject of an immediate legal challenge. Soon after, a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional.

In 1999, California Governor Gray Davis ordered state agencies to stop appealing the ruling. By 2014, the unconstitutional anti-immigrant provisions in the law were formally repealed. The author of the legislation to repeal prop 187, current Los Angeles City Council Member Kevin de León, noted that the repeal “closes a dark chapter in our state’s history, and brings dignity and respect to the national immigration debate”. Fortunately, California has come a long way in the last two decades. State voters are now expressing strong support for expanding health coverage and benefits to low income people without regard to their immigration status.

Our Law Firm Advocates for Immigrant Rights in Southern California

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are devoted to representing our clients with the highest level of professional skill and personal support. With the experience needed to help you navigate all aspects of the immigration system, our firm is more than prepared to get started working on your case. Call our Los Angeles law office now to set up a confidential initial immigration consultation.

Josh Goldstein
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