NOW   |  March 06, 2014

How immigration affects Latinos' ACA enrollment

The  number of uninsured Hispanics is nearly double the national rate. On Thursday, Pres. Obama pushed for Latinos to sign up for health care at a town hall. He also dodged the label of “Deporter-in-Chief.” Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart discusses.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the day after his administration announced another delay for the affordable care act , president obama sat down for a town hall in the nation's capital to address another health care challenge -- enrolling hispanic -americans. the percentage of hispanics in the u.s. who are uninsured is nearly double the national rate, which makes their enrollment crucial to the success of the nation's health care law . but efforts to enroll them have been complicated. since the health care rollout in october, states have been delayed in their launch of spanish-language websites and spanish-speaking operators and health care navigators are in short supply. one of the biggest barriers has been fear of deportation. many his pan can americans live in what are called mixed households, home where is some family members are undocumented. and many of these family members have been reluctant to give out their information so they remain uninsured. earlier today the president addressed those concerns and usualed the hispanic community to sign up not for his sake but for theirs.

>> if you are a u.s. citizen or you have a legal presence in this country, you are eligible. for everybody out there in mixed family, there is no sharing of the data from the health care plan into immigration services. you should feel confident that if somebody in your family is eligible you should sign them up. you don't punish me by not signing up for health care . you're punishing yourself. that's not a matter of trusting me. that's a matter of looking for yourself.

>> joining me now is the anchor of telemundo, jose diaz bullard, who co-hosted the president's town hall earlier today. always a good day when you're on our show.

>> always a good day to be with you. what a day it was today. pretty his torque. the president of the united states spoke to the hispanic community in a town hall format where he was able to answer about 30 minutes worth of very specific questions dealing with immigration reform as you say, but specifically on health care for the latino commune.

>> the idea of mixed households, the fear some have of giving their information to state or local government, i feel this is one of the first times we've discussed this in terms of the national media. which is the biggest hurdle for the white house seeking enroll hispanics, and there are 10.2 latinos eligible for coverage under the affordable care act ? that fear or that websites were slow to roll out, still english speakers only for operators. which is the bigger obstacle?

>> the big picture is immigration and deportations. and you know what, you say it hasn't been really touched on in english and you're right and i applaud you for it because what many millions of people live is in a household where, for example, the kids may be born in the united states and the parents may be undocumented. let's say there are parents that live with their children and live with let's say a brother of one of the parents, an uncle or an aunt, and they may be undocumented. so what happens is that if you have -- and you have more than 1,000 deportations going on every single day in this country. any day now it will be 2 million, the total number of people deported under president barack obama 's administration. so what you have is, if i have a kid born in the united states and i'm filling out the form online to get health insurance and i have to essentially say who i live with, where i live, and i'm thinking but then my dad and mom can never register because they're undocumented so someone is going to figure out, two and two is four, there are two documented and maybe two undocumented, then they're going to come get my parents. what is a bigger fear, not being insured or the possibility that your parents get deported?

>> and jose, this sort of irony here was underscored by the fact that the president talked about deportati deportations. he was asked about it and he said -- he predicated with i am the champion in chief i think of immigration reform , but when it comes to deportations, i have to follow the letter of the law . you just pointed out this is a historic number of deor the anticipations, almost 1,000 a day. on one hand, the president is trying to reassure people, sign up, don't worry about dee deportati deportation, but his administration has been unstinting in deportation. what was the reaction in the room today on that comment?

>> i just want to say i've interviewed the president probably 10 or 11 times since he has been president. i talk to him about this every single time. he is very consistent on this. he says he is simply following the letter of the law about deportations. congress sets the budget and tells him how to do things. he is following the law. you know, a lot of republicans are criticizing the president for not following the law the way they think the president should be following the law, taking unilateral decisions on things like deferred action for young people which has helped millions of young people who were brought here as kids. so you criticize the president on the one hand for not following some of the rules you think he should be following, then when he's saying, listen, what i'm doing is following the rules on deportations he's criticized as well. the fact is that he's aware that this is a very difficult situation for millions of people in this country, and i'm talking about the undocumented population and those who live with them, but the question is what should he or could he be doing about this issue? while there is no immigration reform the house there's little he can do.

>> do you think that answer satisfies the hispanic community?

>> no.

>> i'm speaking monolithally about it.

>> no, i don't. today i had a young lady in the audience sitting there watching and listening to the president of the united states of america . she is a legal u.s. citizen . she's married to a man who does not have documents in this country and she says she is fearing the moment she is going to fill out the information about her household when they figure out that she's married but that her husband is not on the rolls. look, it's a very difficult situation. that's why this all had to do with immigration reform .

>> it does. and we are hearing rumors that nancy pelosi may go forward with a discharge petition many the house to force republican hands on the subject. it is certainly we are a chant we are in the middle of and not nearly close to the end of. jose balart, thank you.

>>> coming up, the issa man goeth. a stunning display of bad behavior yesterday. when jake