Proposed Changes To the Public Charge Rule will Cause Significant Loss of Health Care Coverage for Florida Children (Updated)
By Matt Childers, Ph.D.
Updated November 14, 2018
On October 10, 2018, the Trump Administration published proposed changes to the “public charge” immigration rules that govern how the use of public benefits affect an immigrant’s legal status. These changes are likely to harm millions of immigrant families across the nation, but states with large immigrant populations will disproportionately feel the impact. In this brief, we analyze the effects that the proposed changes will have on healthcare coverage among U.S.-born children in “mixed-status” families in Florida and its major metropolitan areas (by “mixed-status,” we refer to families whose children are citizens, but one or both of the parents are not). We find that over 107,000 kids will lose health insurance in Florida and over half of them reside in the Miami metropolitan area.
Proposed Changes to the Public Charge Rule Will Push Thousands of Florida’s Children Out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
By Matt Childers, Ph.D.
Updated November 14, 2018
On October 10, 2018, the Trump Administration published proposed changes to the “public charge” immigration rules that govern how the use of public benefits affect an immigrant’s legal status. These changes are likely to harm millions of immigrant families across the country, but states with large immigrant populations will be disproportionately affected. In this brief, we analyze the impacts that the proposed changes will have on SNAP enrollment (food stamps) among U.S.-born children in “mixed-status” families in Florida and its major metropolitan areas. (By “mixed-status,” we refer to families whose children are citizens, but one or both of the parents are not.) We find that over 80,000 kids will lose SNAP benefits across the state and over half of them reside in the Miami metropolitan area.
(Miami) - A draconian proposal by the Trump administration to overhaul how immigration officials determine what constitutes a “public charge” (which could result in denial of lawful permanent residence or entry to the U.S.) was announced on Saturday night. There will be a 60 day public comment period.
The proposed new rule radically revamps longstanding immigration law. For the first time, immigration officials could consider use of critical non-cash benefits intended to safeguard the health, nutrition, housing and economic security of America's low-income families in making public charge determinations. States with large immigrant populations like Florida will be disproportionately impacted.
Miriam Harmatz, Co-executive Director of the Florida Health Justice Project, explained that this represents a major shift from long-standing policy in which the only benefits considered in a public charge determination are cash assistance or long-term institutional care. "The chilling effect will result in Florida’s families and children being poorer and sicker.”
Local public officials across the country have been speaking out against the long rumored rule, and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution on 9/5/18 urging the federal government to maintain the status quo. Citing data provided by Dr. Matt Childers, Director of Policy Research for the Florida Health Justice Project, the Commission’s Resolution opposed any federal regulatory change that would negatively impact immigrant families.
In observing that “this is a disgraceful attack on immigrants legally living and working in our communities,” Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition, also noted that nothing changes until the Administration reviews and responds to public comments. She urged all members of the public to submit comments. “This is an attack on the entire community.”
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."
For more information on the rule’s impact in Florida and how to submit comments, contact Matt Childers.
The Florida Health Justice Project, a new nonprofit advocacy organization, seeks to improve access to affordable healthcare for Floridians, with a focus on vulnerable low-income populations.
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