Does The Immigration Bill Create An Incentive To Hire Illegal Immigrants Under Obamacare?

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“Under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker,” reports Phil Klein for the Washington Examiner. “But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead.”

That’s a big deal, and apparently it’s a side effect of the legislation members of Congress aren’t considering. The Weekly Standard asked five proponents of the immigration legislation whether or not employers would have a major financial incentive to hire non-citizens, and they couldn’t answer:

“I don’t know. I’d have to look at it closely,” said Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. “I just haven’t read it that closely to know.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said he thought the Affordable Care Act’s fines would apply no matter what. “I’d have to look at the ACA, but I don’t think it distinguishes” between citizens and those on a path to citizenship, Blumenthal said. But then he said he wasn’t quite sure. “I mean I’d have to look. You’re asking a legal question. It’s not an opinion question,” Blumenthal added. “I don’t recall any distinction in the law. But that’s a good question. I’d have to check.”

Senator Tom Carper of Delaware said he was too busy to answer the question. “I don’t have the time to drill down on it right now,” he told me. And Senator Barbara Boxer of California replied with something of a non sequitur before the Senators-only elevator doors closed in my face. “I think if you work for an employer who offers health care, you will get the health care you want,” Boxer said. Spokesmen for Senators McCain and Rubio did not reply to a request for comment.

This catch-22 illustrates both the rock-and-a-hard-place position Obamacare is putting employers in, and the foolishness of rushing ahead with major immigration legislation without an appropriate amount of debate and scrutiny.

And I say that as someone who is in favor of fixing our illegal immigration by legalizing some of the people already here, and making legal immigration in general easier. But between our welfare state, and Obamacare, opening the gates to immigrants like that is going to have serious consequences.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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