Homes for families opposes any and all attacks on the undocumented and their children. We believe that housing, food and healthcare are human rights. Status and citizenship should not be weaponized and used to deny children & families access to what they need to survive.
The Trump administration has proposed a new rule that, if it becomes law, will make it more difficult for many immigrants to obtain a green card or to enter the United States. The proposal is a contradiction to what we are supposed to stand for as a nation, as inscribed on the statue of liberty. Instead of being a place where liberty and freedom rings true for us all, this proposal is inciting fear among immigrant families, and would undermine the health and stability of valuable members of our Commonwealth.
The new rule expands the definition of “public charge,” giving the Department of Homeland Security more means by which to reject a green card application or application for admission to the country. The proposal would make income a more heavily weighted factor, where an income level below the 125% federal poverty level is heavily weighted as a negative factor while income that is 250% of the federal poverty level is a positive factor in public charge determinations. The list of what can subject an immigrant to a public charge process would be expanded and include federally funded public housing and Section 8 housing programs (state and local housing programs are not included). The other benefits that would be subject to public charge are cash assistance programs, SNAP, non emergency Medicaid, any benefit for long term institutional care, and subsidies under Medicaid part D.
The new rule would define public charge as anyone who is likely to become primarily dependent on government in the future. Individuals would be assessed retrospectively when determining whether they are a public charge. If the proposed changes become law, people could not be assessed retrospectively until 60 days have passed from date the law takes effect.
There are a lot of pieces to this proposal. For details regarding which immigrants would be affected and the full list of which benefits would be considered when determining public charge please go to the Protecting Immigrant Families website. You can also learn more about what “public charge” is here.
The proposal would make it more difficult for legal immigrants and their families to live safe, healthy lives. The income aspect of the proposed rule disproportionately affects black and brown immigrant people from obtaining visas and green cards, making this a racist, discriminatory policy that we will not stand for.
JOIN US IN FIGHTING BACK!
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION:
- Spread the message that nothing has changed yet and if the proposal becomes law, it will take 60 days to go into effect.
- Spread the message that families should stay on benefits or enroll in benefits until/if the proposal becomes law. No benefits families have used can be scrutinized under the policy until after the 60 days pass, should this become law.
- Fight back by submitting public comment before December 10th. Prepare to submit comments in opposition to the proposal before Dec. 10th. Unique comments that describe why the rule would be a problem from your perspective are best. MIRA is tracking and submitting comments for folks as part of the larger PIF (Protect Immigrant Families) campaign working on this, so here is a link to their google document for submitting public comment. Comments can be made anonymously.
We hope you will take part in preventing this proposal from becoming law. Every one of our voices can make a difference.
Liz and Team HFF
- Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. “Proposed Changes to ‘Public Charge’ Policies for Immigrants: Implications for Health Coverage. September 24, 2018, https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/fact-sheet/proposed-changes-to-public-charge-policies-for-immigrants-implications-for-health-coverage/
- Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. “The September 22 Unofficial Proposed Public Charge Rule Includes Federal Housing Programs as ‘Public Benefits'”. October 2, 2018.
- Homes for Families notes from a Protect Immigrant Families Campaign town meeting on October 10th, 2018 and Protect Immigrant Families Campaign phone call on October 11th, 2018.