Children’s Defense Fund Says It is Urgent That Congress Adopt Pending Provision to Insure Immigrant Children

WASHINGTON,–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – U.S. Newswire)–Nov. 13, 2003–The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) today urged Congress to include a provision in the final Medicare prescription drug bill that will help immigrant children get much needed health insurance coverage.

A CDF analysis found that the percentage of immigrant children without health insurance increased from 39.2 percent in 2000, to 41.6 percent in 2001, and to 42.1 percent in 2002.

The Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) – a provision in the Senate Medicare prescription bill currently under consideration in the House-Senate conference committee – could help reverse this troubling trend.

“Immigrant children make up a staggering 30 percent of all uninsured children in America,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “This Congress has not had a better opportunity to help the more than 9 million uninsured children in this nation. This provision would both extend eligibility to legal immigrant children, and increase enrollment of currently eligible citizen children in immigrant families. The members of the conference committee ought to make it a priority to include this provision in any agreement of the prescription drug bill so that immigrant children can finally have a healthy start in life. Congress must not squander this chance.”

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind(R) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. CDF pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment before they get sick, into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. It has never taken government funds.