Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez, one of Congress’ most outspoken advocates for immigrants, on Wednesday called for expanding the Affordable Care Act to cover all of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States.
“The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law,” the Illinois Democrat said in a floor speech introducing his proposed legislation.
“As it stands right now, undocumented immigrants are not subject to the individual mandate and cannot buy into health insurance exchanges even if they use their own money. My legislation will change that. It says that we stand for inclusion.”
Citing last week’s papal address to Congress (the pope repeatedly urged U.S. lawmakers to follow “the Golden Rule”), Gutiérrez said: “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving.’”
The Gutiérrez proposal faces long odds in the House, where proposals to overhaul immigration have been stymied by Republicans who say the federal government has to address holes in border security first.
Here’s video of the congressman’s remarks on the House floor early Wednesday: