Federal proposed public charge regulations will harm millions
The federal government has proposed new “public charge” regulations that would unend 20 years of immigration policy that is having a detrimental impact on the health of immigrant families and our entire community. It has been well established federal policy that the use of essential health and social services would not risk having someone applying for a “green card” or resident visa be denied admission as a “public charge.”
New regulations were proposed in the Federal Register on October 10, 2018 that would add the receipt of Medicaid (Medi-Cal), Prescription drug support (Medicare Part D), housing vouchers (Section 8) and nutrition (Cal Fresh) to the list of programs that could result in someone being labeled a public charge.
Moreover, the regulations propose a balancing test that favors richer, better educated and healthier immigrants over seniors, children, lower-income, lesser educated family members.
The Administration leaked several drafts of these regulations earlier in the year that even included the receipt of public benefits by citizen family members as counting against a applicant for adjustment of status. These leaked drafts have sent fear and confusion throughout immigrant families, since most families have “mixed” immigration status — half the children in California have at least one immigrant parent.
We have heard reports from health, education and nutrition programs that immigrants families (including eligible citizens) are shunning necessary food and health services and dropping from programs.
These are only proposed regulations that are not yet in effect. And the proposal is “prospective” so the use of the specified programs will only affect an immigration application after they go into effect.
What can you do? You have until December 10, 2018 to submit comments on the proposed regulations. You can do so directly to the federal immigration agency (USCIS) or through the Protecting Immigrant Families website.
You can also:
a. Encourage others to submit comments
b. Issue a public statement on the proposed rule and impacts on children and families
c. Sponsor public presentations for families, family workers and policy makers.
d. For individual cases, consult immigration attorney or specialist http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Immigration-Services
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