Hungry And Afraid — Immigrant Families a Public Charge? Part 2
In addition to the rhetoric against immigrants by the Trump administration, they have also proposed troubling changes to 100-year-old immigration rules. U.S. immigration laws have long denied permanent residence to immigrants who cannot support themselves; who become a “public charge.” The Trump administration plans to expand this definition as they decide whether immigrants will get long-term residency–a sharp change from the current system that weighs factors such as whether immigrants have family who are already permanent U.S. residents. Under this proposed rule, an immigrant’s visa application could be denied for something as simple as having a large family to support or using social services for food assistance or health care. The current interpretation of “public charge” already includes cash assistance, like cash welfare, to weigh whether the applicant will be solely dependent on the government for income.
Legal immigrant families, even those whose children are U.S. citizens, would now have to worry that seeking food assistance or access to medical care could be used as grounds to deport them from the U.S. forcing a heartbreaking and inhumane choices like whether or not to keep families together or to allow their children to remain in the U.S. without them.
Because most immigrants aren’t eligible for public benefits until they have had green cards for five years, advocates are concerned that even if the new rule only applies to a few people, the chilling effect will discourage poor immigrant families from seeking food and health care for their children and themselves.
What can you do to stop this plan in its tracks? Stay tuned for our next post!