Advocates Condemn Trump Administration’s Latest Attack on Immigrant Families
For Immediate Release: October 5, 2018
Contact: Matt Childers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Miami, Florida — The Trump administration moved forward this morning with plans to fundamentally alter how immigration officials determine what constitutes a “public charge,” which could result in denial of lawful permanent residence or entry to the U.S. At 8:50 a.m. the administration posted the new rule for “public inspection” and announced that the rule will be formally published in the Federal Register on October 10. This will commence a 60-day public comment period ending December 10, 2018.
The proposed rule, as with the draft released on Sept 22, 2018 , radically alters a 100-plus year old immigration law by significantly expanding the types of public benefits that could be included in a public charge determination. For decades, the only benefits that could be considered were cash assistance or long term institutional care. No other benefits could be part of the calculation. Under the new rule, health care benefits including Medicaid and Medicare low income subsidies for Part D (prescription drugs), housing assistance housing or Section 8 and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) could be considered. Also, the new rule, for the first time, adopts a new income test for households to overcome a public charge test.
Since release of the Sept. 22 draft, leading South Florida elected officials and advocates have been speaking out against the proposed changes and the adverse implications it would have. Dr. Matt Childers, Director of Policy Research for the Florida Health Justice Project, explained how his research indicates that the expected chilling effect of the new rule will likely lead to thousands of U.S.-born Florida children losing health care coverage and food stamps. Depending on the drop off rate, between 46,000 and 107,000 children can be expected to lose health coverage and between 35,000 and 82,000 will lose SNAP (food stamps).
Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, condemned the Rule’s unfair economic bias against low income immigrant families. “Immigrants are our co-workers, families and community leaders. We have joined together with native born and immigrants, grassroots organizers and elected officials to reject this latest Trump attempt to tear apart Florida families.”
Jonathan Fried, Director of WeCount, similarly decried the proposal’s impact. “Key sectors of Florida’s economy, including agriculture and tourism, are dependent on immigrant workers who earn less than a living wage. Their families will forego Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance - services to which they are legally entitled - jeopardizing their health, safety and security, as well as Florida’s economic sustainability.”
Alana Greer, Director of the Community Justice Project, a nonprofit that collaborates with grassroots groups working for racial and economic justice, and including WeCount and FLIC, urged all members of the community to submit public comments. “The Administration is required by law to review all of the unique comments submitted, and this is a real and powerful tool for fighting back. “
After the rule is posted, comments can be submitted to the federal website via www.protectingimmigrantfamilies.org.