On January 5 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced a unanimous decision, holding that legal immigrants residing here are entitled to the same access as US citizens to the state’s Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program.

The state had maintained that denying such access was justified on financial grounds, but the Court ruled that this violated the state constitution’s ban on discrimination based on alienage or national origin, and therefore unlawfully prevented thousands of lawful immigrants from having access to this crucial healthcare option.

The case was filed and argued by Health Law Advocates on behalf of the legal immigrants. The Irish International Immigrant Center participated in the case by filing amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in favor of the immigrants’ position. We congratulate HLA on their fine work in this case, which is in the highest tradition of legal advocacy in the public interest.

Michael Buckley, IIIC’s president, commented that the outcome of the case was “a great victory for the rule of law in our state.”

“Lawful immigrants, who work hard, raise families, and pay their full share of taxes, will now be able to avail themselves of the health care program to which their tax dollars have contributed,” he said.