Under the 1996 welfare law overhaul, Congress restricted most federal benefits to longtime holders of green cards - those who have been in the country at least five years.
But Democrats chipped away at that rule when they reauthorized the State Children’s Health Insurance Program earlier this year and allowed states to cover all immigrant children and pregnant women, regardless of how long they’ve been in the country.
In their letter, the Democrats said health care costs are much lower for legal immigrants than for native citizens.
“Immigrants are part of our families, our communities, our economy, and contribute to the fabric of America,” they wrote. “It is simply wrong that their taxes would pay for public health insurance programs to which they are not allowed access.”