Protecting Dreamers: Response to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Remand of DACA Litigation

On October 5, 2022, a federal appeals court found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA, in violation of U.S. immigration law.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that the program was illegal and remanded the case back to the lower court.   The lower court will now consider the Department of Homeland Security’s policy to codify DACA. 

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy calls on Congress to take action to provide permanent protection for “Dreamers”, those immigrants brought to the United States as children.  Since its inception as a temporary measure in 2012, the legal uncertainty surrounding DACA has left “Dreamers” to live in limbo with precarious immigration status.  The fate of the policy should be taken out of the court system and a clear path to citizenship must be created.

As Sharon Dove, Immigrant Justice Program Director shared:

“One thing we hear ‘Dreamers’ tell us is that they can’t take anything for granted. They can’t get attached. Their lives here are not permanent. And that’s just a terrible way that we make them live.”

This new court ruling will leave the current injunction in place, allowing those currently enrolled in the DACA program to renew their status.  However, new DACA applications will not be approved.  Those impacted by this decision are encouraged to contact their immigration lawyer for assistance. 

If you believe “Dreamers” deserve a clear path to citizenship, urge your members of Congress to act to develop permanent protections for immigrant youth:

We need Medicaid expansion now

1 in 10 North Carolinians has no health insurance, one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the country.  Low-income seniors, people living with disabilities, veterans, immigrants, and their families need access to affordable healthcare. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy fights for this right every day. 

The current Medicaid coverage gap in our state means that thousands of individuals have income levels that are too high to qualify for Medicaid but are too low for premium subsidies through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, leaving them without access to vital health insurance.  Medicaid expansion would give 600,000 North Carolinians, nearly 100,000 of which live in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, an affordable health insurance option.

Why do we support in Medicaid expansion?

Medicaid expansion has antipoverty implications.  Millions of Americans are pushed into poverty every year because of out-of-pocket spending on health care.  Research has found that Medicaid coverage cuts the likelihood of incurring a burdensome medical expense in half. 

Medicaid expansion makes health care services more accessible for everyone.  The current coverage gap puts vulnerable populations at an even greater risk, including people living with disabilities, people with complex medical needs, and those living below the poverty line.  Expansion would provide the critical coverage these individuals need, resulting in improved quality of care and better health outcomes in the process.  In North Carolina, nearly half of the individuals in the coverage gap are people of color.  Research has found that racial disparities in health coverage and access to care would be narrowed by Medicaid expansion. 

Medicaid expansion strengthens our community.  Currently 63% of North Carolinians in the coverage gap are from working families.  Expansion would benefit workers, allowing them to live healthier lives and be more productive.   With more individuals covered by health insurance, hospitals and doctors will decrease their costs for caring for uninsured individuals, allowing them to reduce health care costs for everyone. In addition, North Carolina stands to gain $1.7 billion in new federal funding with Medicaid expansion.  But without expansion, our state will lose billions of dollars each year, all while North Carolina taxpayers continue to fund Medicaid expansion in 38 other states.

How can I get involved?

We are in a critical period of garnering support in the House for Medicaid expansion. If you believe Medicaid expansion is critical, we urge you to call your legislators or email your representatives to let your voice be heard!

Action Alert: Tell Berger and Moore No Excuses. Expand Medicaid.

Health insurance and access to health care are more important now than ever before. No one should have to make the hard choice between getting critical care and making ends meet. 

But half a million people in N.C. do not have health insurance and thousands more are losing coverage with their jobs as our economy takes a massive hit during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our state is more vulnerable to this pandemic than it should be, but it’s not too late for our legislature to do the right thing.

Expanding Medicaid now would ensure access to health care for ALL North Carolinians, while bringing billions to our economy, creating thousands of jobs and supporting struggling rural hospitals that need to stay open, at a time when all of this support is critical to our state’s viability.

NOW is the time. Call or write to Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore TODAY!

Our legislature cannot ignore this need any longer, and its leaders need a clear reminder from us.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is proud to join the North Carolina Justice Center, N.C. Moms Rising and advocates across the state in calling for our legislative leaders to expand Medicaid.

Call 1-855-408-2357 to contact Senator Berger and Speaker Moore’s offices

Sample Phone Message:
Dear Senator Berger/Speaker Moore: Our state is more vulnerable to COVID-19 than it should be, but you can do the right thing. You can expand Medicaid to make sure everyone can get the health care they need during this crisis. As our neighbors continue to go uninsured and without care during this pandemic, we all are at risk for infection, complications and even death. Don’t continue to put our state at risk. Please expand Medicaid. We are depending on you. 

Email Senator Berger: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net
Email Seaker Moore:
Tim.Moore@ncleg.net

Sample Email Message:
Dear Senator Berger/Speaker Moore,

We need our leadership to come together and figure out a solution that protects North Carolinians from COVID-19 and financial ruin. To do that, you must act now to expand Medicaid for more than 500,000 people.
The COVID-19 crisis is weakening our economy, workers and employers in ways that no other recession has before. We have seen unprecedented numbers of people lose their jobs and health insurance benefits in the middle of a public health crisis — when people need access to coverage the most.

The health of the person next to us affects our health and the person next to them too. We all need one another to be healthy and thriving to contribute to our economy and our community.

Those who continue to work in “essential” businesses to ensure we can meet our needs are the faces of North Carolina’s uninsured. They work in our grocery stores, delivery services and gas stations. They risk their health and their family’s health by going to work each day so that the rest of us can survive.

In risking so much, our state owes it to these workers to ensure access to critical care when they need it most through health coverage.

We need our leaders to rise above partisan norms in times of crisis to demonstrate they are willing to work for the health and welfare of our state. I urge you to expand health insurance coverage during this crisis.

Sincerely,

Update from last week:

THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to submit comments to for a stronger N.C. Last week, we called on you to advocate from home  by submitting comments to the House Select Committee on COVID-19 response. There are various policies the state can consider to stabilize families and our economy, but here were three points we emphasized in our comments:

  1. Expand Medicaid
  2. Reform Our State’s Unemployment Insurance Program
  3. Restore funding for civil legal aid.

Read the full Action Alert here.
In case you haven’t gotten around to submitting something, there’s still time! Here’s some more inspiration on how our state can reform its unemployment insurance program from our friends at the North Carolina Justice Center via NC Policy Watch: Veteran attorney explains specific upgrades NC should make to its unemployment insurance system.

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