Under the Gang of 8’s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare “exchange” subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.
Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.
The issue is really an “interaction effect” of the immigration proposal and ObamaCare itself.
Beginning in January, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered “acceptable” by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run “exchange.” The penalty can be as much as $3,000 per employee.
Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations by slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status. Since “full-time,” in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.
If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work “full-time,” an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to “part-time” status, American workers.
Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner explains that he spoke with Alex Conant of Sen. Marco Rubio’s staff in April about the wrinkle, and was told that this was an issue that could be addressed during the legislative process.
“[T]he scenario you raise illustrates both the absurdity of ObamaCare, and why we have insisted on a lengthy process to review this legislation before any votes are taken,” Conant emailed Klein. “We always expected there might be a need for amendments to fix technical problems, and we’ll be interested in seeing what sort of amendments might be offered to improve this part of the legislation without giving ObamaCare to illegals- something Sen. Rubio has always said he will not support.”
However, as Klein said a couple of weeks ago, the issue has not been addressed and, in fact, the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven deal carries out what appears to be a major complication for American workers. Klein said that Conant did not respond to further requests for comment on this issue.
As for Conant’s comment in April about Rubio insisting on a “lengthy process to review this legislation before votes are taken,” that seems to have gone with the wind as well.