January 27, 2009

CONLAMIC Urges Senate Leaders to Include Legal Immigrant Children and Pregnant Women Coverage in SCHIP Program Reauthorization

Washington, DC – As early as today, the Senate may vote to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that is critical to ensuring the health of our nation’s children. Upon learning that amendments may be offered to eliminate coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women, Latino pastors, members of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) took action in a rapid response effort urging Senate leaders to not exclude legal immigrant children and their mothers from this valuable program.

"We are alarmed that there are leaders in the Senate who would oppose basic health coverage to legal immigrant children and pregnant women. Our leaders in Congress will hear from us today as we ensure the voice of the voiceless is represented by the strength of Latino Clergy throughout the nation," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Senator Robert Menendez, a champion for health care reform and the right of legal immigrant children and pregnant women to have access, alerted CONLAMIC that this critical program risks excluding millions of children who live in poverty in the United States.

“Aside from life, the most important asset we have as individuals is our health – this must not be stripped from the immigrant children who are American’s and the future of our nation!” said Rev. Rivera.

Senate leaders must not remove this vital asset from legal immigrant children and their pregnant mothers with the insertion of a few words into the policy that will guide the SCHIP program. Latino ministers, urged by CONLAMIC, are mobilizing to urge Senate leaders to include immigrant children and pregnant women in the critical SCHIP program re-authorization.

"When families are healthy our nation is strong – may our leaders in Congress and President Obama embrace change that will strengthen us and fight those who deny basic health to legal immigrant children and their mothers," concluded Rev. Rivera.

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