Davidsmeyer bill would end taxpayer-funded healthcare for undocumented immigrants

With the State of Illinois facing an estimated $775 million budget deficit and Governor JB Pritzker calling for more than $1 billion in tax hikes on Illinois families and businesses, State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Murrayville) has filed legislation to end Illinois’ healthcare benefits program for undocumented immigrants.

Last week, Rep. Davidsmeyer introduced House Bill 5846 which would repeal the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Seniors (HBIA/HBIS) Programs. The State of Illinois currently provides free healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrant adults at an annual estimated cost of nearly $700 million. Over the first four fiscal years of the HBIA/HBIS programs, the State will have spent more than $2 billion in taxpayer funds on healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrants.

“Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to pay for free healthcare benefits for illegal immigrants, especially at a time when healthcare costs for our own citizens continue to skyrocket,” Rep. Davidsmeyer said. “I have repeatedly voted against taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants. With this legislation, I am once again calling for the end of taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants.”

House Bill 5846 would completely repeal the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Seniors (HBIA/HBIS) Programs. By ending these budget-busting programs, the State of Illinois could save hundreds of millions of dollars that could go toward expanding access to critical state services for Illinois citizens.

Representative Davidsmeyer discussed the process by which these expansions of health benefits to undocumented immigrants were enacted into law and the absolute lack of accountability and transparency for this program.

“During the 2020 pandemic-shortened House session, Democrats slipped health benefits for undocumented immigrant seniors into the FY21 Budget Implementation (BIMP) bill. This new benefit was included in the BIMP at the last minute, without a committee hearing, public input, or debate. We had virtually no time to review the massive BIMP and budget bills that were passed at the end of that special session,” said Rep. Davidsmeyer.

“In 2021, Democrats again slipped expanded health benefits for undocumented immigrants for ages 55-64 into the FY22 BIMP bill. This was again included at the last minute, with no committee hearing and almost no time to debate the bill.

“In 2022, Democrats blew up an agreed Medicaid Omnibus bill by yet again adding a last-minute expansion of health benefits for undocumented immigrants for ages 42-54 at the end of session. Zero transparency, zero accountability, zero public input.”

Since its implementation, the HBIA/S Program has continually exceeded appropriations, even with a current moratorium on new enrollees to the program.$619.2 million in State Funds for HBIA/HBIS in Fiscal Year 2023.
$697.1 million in State Funds projected for HBIA/HBIS in Fiscal Year 2024.
$629 million budgeted for HBIS/HBIS in Fiscal Year 2025.

With a surge of migrants coming to Illinois, Rep. Davidsmeyer filed legislation last year to repeal the TRUST Act, ending Illinois’ status as a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

“$820 million in taxpayer funds are being spent to address the migrant crisis created by Chicago’s sanctuary city, Illinois’ sanctuary state, and the Biden Administration’s failure to secure the border. Illinois taxpayers are already on the hook for more than $2 billion in costs to provide free healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants. When is enough enough?” Davidsmeyer asked.

“The crisis at our southern border can no longer be ignored. Illinois has become a safe haven destination for illegal immigrants. They know that if they come here, our law enforcement agencies cannot cooperate with federal immigration authorities to detain or deport them. On top of that, the State of Illinois gives illegal immigrants free healthcare benefits, driver’s licenses, and housing assistance. People illegally crossing our border are treated better than our own citizens. That is the crisis! We need to repeal the TRUST Act now!”

Representative Davidsmeyer has launched an online petition drive in support of his legislation to repeal the TRUST Act and end Illinois’ status as a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. Please visit his website at CDDavidsmeyer.org to sign the petition.