In what must surely be one of the most treasonous twists in recent American political history, the immigration reform bill currently before Congress contains a clause which will actually encourage employers to employ “newly legalized” immigrants over existing US citizens.
The loophole has come to the fore after the bipartisan legislation released yesterday said that those granted provisional legal immigrant status would be treated the same as those “not lawfully present” are treated under the 2010 health law.
That means they would neither be eligible for ObamaCare tax credits nor required to pay an individual tax penalty for failing to obtain qualifying health coverage.
The practical effect is that employers will be able sidestep the fines imposed for failing to provide healthcare coverage for “newly legalized” immigrants, whereas they would be liable if they employed already existing US nationals.
If the coverage costs a worker more than 9.5% of pay, it is deemed unaffordable and the worker becomes eligible for ObamaCare’s exchange subsidies.
These employers would have to pay the government up to $3,000 per full-time worker who receives ObamaCare subsidies.
The immigration bill provides, however, a method of avoiding the fines: if an employer hires “legalized immigrants” as full-time employees, they won’t be eligible for ObamaCare for a decade or more—and the companies won’t be fined.
It is therefore, an encouragement to employers to give priority to “new citizens” over existing ones, because they will be able to put off the onerous costs of Obamacare for at least a decade.
ObamaCare’s design has been unusual among means-tested programs in that benefits—and penalties—apply to all legal residents who earn up to 400% of the poverty level and don’t have employer coverage. Other programs aren’t accessible for five years after gaining legal status.
ObamaCare’s exception for the undocumented only made sense because their status was in flux, politically, and it has been illegal for employers to knowingly hire them. But if the legal barrier to employment is removed—which the legislation will effect, then the illegal immigrants will suddenly have favored status in the job market, over pre-existing American citizens.