It’s an inhumane attempt to deny immigrants access to health care, housing, and food.
UPDATE (Aug. 12, 2019) – The Trump-Pence administration has released the final version of its public charge rule — a harmful rule designed to keep families separated and to dissuade immigrants from accessing health care and meeting other basic needs. Under the final rule, people could be denied visas, green cards, and entry into the U.S. simply because they have received any one of a broad range of public benefits they are legally allowed to access, including health care, nutrition assistance, and housing assistance. The rule will likely take effect on or around October 15, 2019.
In October, the Trump-Pence administration issued a proposed regulation known as the “public charge” rule. The rule would jeopardize immigrants' ability to stay in the U.S. if they’d used public benefits they’re legally allowed to access. Simply having accessed health care coverage, nutrition assistance, or public housing could mean they’d be denied visas, green cards, and entry into the country.
This policy is cruel and inhumane.
By linking people’s immigration status to whether they’ve used public benefits, the “public charge” rule would cause extreme harm to immigrants across the country — including documented and undocumented families alike.
What Would the “Public Charge” Rule Do?
Trump’s proposed rule would make a number of changes to U.S. immigration law. The rule would expand the government’s power to look at whether someone who’s applying for a visa, green card, or entry into the country has accessed public benefits — so that this information could be used against them.
Someone could be penalized for having used:
Medicaid in order to meet their health care needs;
Food assistance programs like SNAP to feed their families;
Public housing benefits to ensure their families are safe.
The public charge rule would also penalize anyone who meets criteria that the government considers would make them LIKELY to use public benefits. That includes someone with a poor credit history, limited education, or a medical condition that requires extensive medical care or could interfere with their ability to go to work or school. Even a person’s limited English proficiency would count as evidence against them under the rule.
Ultimately, the rule would empower the government to prioritize wealthy immigrant families over families with low incomes who have waited years to be reunited.
How Would the "Public Charge" Rule Affect the Health of Immigrant Families?
If the “public charge” rule goes into effect, its harms would be serious and wide-ranging. It would directly affect nearly a million immigrants in the U.S. — in addition to millions more people living overseas who are trying to gain legal status in the country. Most of the immigrants that would be forced to pass the new “public charge” test have family members that are U.S. citizens, so the rule would add yet another obstacle to keeping families together.
Already, the “public charge” rule has caused widespread fear and confusion for all immigrants — including the 23 million noncitizens living in the U.S., which includes U.S.-born children of immigrant parents. Even before the rule was announced, immigrant communities had been avoiding essential public services, such as nutrition and health programs, out of fear of drawing scrutiny from the government.
The proposed “public charge” rule would make this problem much worse. It would force immigrant families to choose between permanent legal status and their ability to access basic needs like health care.
The combined effect would be incredibly harmful to the health and well-being of immigrants, their families, and the communities they live in. We’re likely to see large declines in Medicaid enrollment, a program that provides access to care and financial security for families with low incomes. This will mean worse health outcomes and less financial stability for millions of immigrant families, which would be worsened by losing access to affordable housing and food.
Tweet Now to #ProtectFamilies!
"Trump’s new “public charge” regulation would strip immigrant families of their access to health care, healthy food, and housing. Join me in submitting a comment demanding the administration #ProtectFamilies."