AILA Commends Congress for Passing the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends Congress for passing the "Legal Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act" (ICHIA) as part of the SCHIP reauthorization. ICHIA authorizes states to waive the current five-year waiting period that limits millions of legal permanent resident children and pregnant women from receiving health insurance benefits.

Eliminating the five year waiting period - a lifetime for children needing medical assistance - has been a priority for pro-immigrant activists for 13 years. When President Obama (who pushed hard to ensure that the final SCHIP measure included ICHIA) signs the legislation, it will be a significant victory for all children. And it will mark a significant change in the direction of the immigration debate. Anti-immigrant organizations have fought tooth and nail to prevent this humane and eminently sensible measure from becoming law.

Those groups should see the writing on the wall. ICHIA is the first pro-immigrant measure to go to this President's desk, but it will not be the last. This Congress and this Administration have committed to reforming our immigration system, restoring the rule of law, and treating all people in this country with respect. AILA welcomes that overdue commitment and looks forward to working with Congress to solve the many challenges facing our immigration system.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 09020330.