California’s “Health for All Act”

States continue to be forced to take action into their own hands as hopes for Comprehensive Immigration Reform wane in Congress: California’s “Health for All Act” would provide needed healthcare for undocumented immigrants.

The California law would benefit undocumented immigrants and healthcare providers.

The California law would benefit undocumented immigrants and healthcare providers.

While many of California’s residents took advantage of the state’s systems for offering health insurance through the Affordable Care Act[i] (“ACA”), the state’s undocumented immigrants are not eligible to participate. Since ACA took effect October 1st of 2013, more than 650,000 Californians signed up for insurance through the new law. Another 1.2 million of the state’s residents qualify to receive state Medicaid assistance; however this does not include any of the estimated 1 million undocumented residents who are ineligible for California Medicaid or ACA options. State Senator for California, Mr. Ricardo Lara[ii], does not think affordable healthcare should be withheld from undocumented residents of his state.

The Health for All Act proposes healthcare options for undocumented Californians.

The new bill, the Health for All Act, SB 1005,[iii] proposed by Senator Lara would give California’s undocumented immigrant residents the option to receive Medicare payments or to buy subsidized insurance plans if their income exceeded Medicare limits. According to Lara, “Healthcare coverage is just another step toward recognizing that undocumented immigrants play a vital role in the state economy, says Lara, whether they have legal status or not.[iv]” Medicaid payments paid pursuant to the Health for All Act would be fully funded by the State.

California is among the states working diligently to make life better for undocumented residents by offering select public services. For example, like Illinois[v], the California legislature voted to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants, allowing them to drive legally and without fear.[vi] Senator Lara, recognizing the part that every Californian plays, “whether they have legal status or not,[vii]” favors the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in society and the state’s economy.

The California law would benefit undocumented immigrants and healthcare providers.

Without access to affordable healthcare options, many of undocumented immigrants are limited to visiting hospital emergency rooms and low cost or free healthcare facilities. According to the reports[viii] covering the proposed California law, under ACA, healthcare providers receive less federal payments to compensate for care of the uninsured. In theory, if more Americans get insured through ACA, there will be fewer uninsured patients in need of care. The theory fails when you consider how many people are do not qualify for ACA coverage.

Undocumented immigrants are prohibited from participating in ACA exchanges and receiving Medicaid benefits funded by the federal government. Without healthcare options, this large part of the state population must visit free clinics and emergency rooms as uninsured residents. California’s Health for All Act could reduce the burden to the state’s healthcare providers to the uninsured. If the law passes, other states might work with similar legislation to help incorporate immigrants to the U.S. who otherwise wait for much needed Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

KiKi M. Mosley follows news and trends in law that matter to our large population of undocumented residents in the U.S. She can help people seeking legal status as well as people on a path to U.S. citizenship. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.


[i] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website: HHS.gov/HealthCare.

[iii] LegiScan website: California Senate Bill 1005, regular session.

[iv] Time U.S.: Undocumented Immigrants Could Get Health Insurance In California. By Kate Pickert, Feb. 18, 2014.

[vii] See Time article and quoting Senator Lara.

[viii] See Time article.

Immigration Detention: Why legal representation can be crucial to detainees

The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) recently reported that the United States has a crisis situation managing almost half a million immigrants in more than 250 detention center facilities as reported in 2011 by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). What concerns people connected to the immigration system is the large percentage of detained immigrants who did not need to be locked up and were not charged with any crimes. This group includes undocumented people seeking asylum from torture, families with small children, elderly people and those with serious physical and mental health conditions. Also being kept in detention centers are “…lawful permanent residents with longstanding family and community ties who are facing deportation because of old or minor crimes.[i]

"ICE's primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. The agency has an annual budget of more than $5.7 billion dollars, primarily devoted to its two principal operating components - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)." DHS Website.

“ICE’s primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. The agency has an annual budget of more than $5.7 billion dollars, primarily devoted to its two principal operating components – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).” DHS Website.

In 2012, ICE removed 409,849 individuals according to the DHS website page of removal statistics[ii].

In one example from several years ago, an unnamed undocumented California resident moved to Illinois for a job. Living in the suburbs of Chicago he met a woman to whom he became engaged. On his wedding day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officers arrested the man and detained him in a nearby ICE holding facility. The couple later determined the application for marriage license sent the red flag triggering the arrest and detention. The detained man was transferred to an out of state county detention center which made it difficult for his fiancée and lawyer to travel the increased distance to meet. Conditions for the man’s release were troublesome, as his application for asylum indicated his original home country no longer existed and he would likely face corporal punishment for other reasons if sent to alternative locations.

What happens if you don’t agree to comply with the proposed conditions for release from detention? You could sit in your detention facility for a long time. A recent publication on the website Immigration Equality highlights that, “Due to a series of harsh immigration laws that were passed in the 1990s, persons with minor visa violations, even asylum seekers, often end up in detention for months or years.[iii]” While in detention, many immigrants file complaints to the office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at DHS. Immigrants who are LGBT and/or HIV-positive have additional concerns for their health and safety at detention centers and in general detainee populations. The Immigration Equality website has additional links to articles addressing these issues.

Humans rights lawyers and organizations created “Know Your Rights” a video published by the American Bar Association: ABA Know Your Rights.

The video first suggests that detained immigrants find and hire a licensed attorney and warns against something called a Notario because they are not allowed to represent you in immigration courts because notarios are not licensed attorneys. The video also discusses the Notice to Appear that might have been filed with the court and outlines a few of the situations where detention occurs. You may be able to stay in the United States even if you are arrested and detained by ICE officers. Even if you are ordered to be removed from the United States, an attorney can file motions with the immigration court seeking relief from removal for certain reasons.

The Law Office of KiKi M. Mosley, works to counsel and represent detained immigrants and file the proper petitions with immigration courts necessary to protect an undocumented man, woman or child. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.


[i][i] American Civil Liberties Union Website: Immigrants Rights, Immigration Detention.

[iii] Immigration Equality Website: Detention.

Illinois is soon to issue Temporary Visitor Drivers Licenses to undocumented immigrants

The Secretary of State's office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number.

The Secretary of State’s office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number.

On any given day, just over 4% of the population of the State of Illinois, 525,000 undocumented immigrants (according to a recent Chicago Sun-Times article[i]) drive to work, school, grocery stores, and so on, but without a driver’s license. Things in Illinois are about to change, however, and the Secretary of State’s new program, signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on January 27, 2013[ii], will allow Illinois residents on their path to citizenship drive legally. Traffic stops and citations have plagued undocumented drivers for years, sometimes introducing these drivers to the criminal justice system and triggering the attention of ICE officers.

All it takes is a traffic stop for burned out license plate lights to trigger a myriad of legal troubles for hard working parents just trying to make their way in Chicagoland and feed their families and get them to school. Temporary workers and foreign students are already allowed temporary driving privileges. With the new law allowing for the issuance of a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL), undocumented immigrant drivers will be able to buy automobile insurance as well.

Republican leaders backing the bill, as a safety measure, address the issue of undocumented drivers.

Bi-Partisan support for Senate Bill 597 led to the passage of the bill that made it law in the State of Illinois that undocumented immigrants will be allowed to apply for temporary drivers licenses. Written road and vision tests are required. The temporary license is not effective as identification, to vote, to board a plane, but simply for driving only. Illinois lawmakers made many revisions to the bill over time. Many supporters stated that the need for public safety and insured drivers is good for all drivers in Illinois. “I don’t want to get hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance,” said State Comptroller, Judy Barr Topinka. “They have to get to work, they have to get to school, they have to get to daycare,” Topinka said.

Learn more by visiting the Illinois Secretary of State website with additional information.

The Illinois Secretary of State, during a 10-month period after the law was passed in January, will, according to their website, “develop procedures for implementation of the legislation, such as what documents the applicant must present and which facilities will be issuing TVDLs to undocumented immigrants.” Here is a link you can click/tap here to learn more. Further, “The goal of the office is to ensure the program is implemented in a way that improves traffic safety, underscores the importance of driver’s license integrity and security, and provides the highest level of customer service,” states the Illinois Secretary of State website.

If you or a friend may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Visitor Drivers License, you may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance in determining what needs to be done to obtain the license. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.