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“Public Charge” Proposed Rule Change Puts Families at Risk

September 24, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC — Contradicting years of federal policy, a proposed rule expected to be introduced by the Department of Homeland Security would make it difficult for many immigrants to come to the U.S. or receive green cards if they are considered likely to use benefits such as Medicaid, housing assistance, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among others. Experts warn this change could cause individuals to disenroll from public benefits for fear of losing their opportunity to get a green card, leading to worse health and poverty outcomes for millions of children and families. It could also make it more difficult for families to be reunited with loved ones in the United States. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:

“In their quest to shame and isolate immigrants to this country, the Trump Administration is gambling with the health of children, wagering that their lives matter less because they were not born here.

“There is no justification for this rule change outside of bald-faced xenophobia. The change applies to immigrants who are here legally and have done nothing to merit punishment. Immigrant families are no less entitled to food or housing support than any other person trying to get by in this unequal economy. Moreover, by working and paying taxes, many of these immigrants have actually earned these benefits. Others, like children and seniors who are not working should not be punished for somebody else’s prejudice.

“Programs like SNAP, Section 8, and TANF are proven to help Americans lift themselves out of poverty. And countless families are better off today because our government helped them find their feet here. Even Donald Trump required a $14 million loan from his father to get his business started, so it is patently false to claim that this is about some faux ideal of independence, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen has claimed.

“You don’t kick the cane away from a person and criticize them for not standing. But that’s what this rule is doing. I’m deeply worried that immigrant families who are here legally and are doing their best to get by will now go hungry because they fear being punished for using the resources our country has made available to them.”