Trump’s Public Charge proposal: A ‘sicker, hungrier, poorer nation’


September 24, 2018

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Monday in response to the Trump Administration’s proposed Department of Homeland Security Public Charge rule regarding immigrants:

“The Trump Administration’s proposed Public Charge rule is the latest in a series of unconscionable attacks on immigrants and immigrant communities. First, this administration tried banning Muslims from U.S. shores. Then it pursued an indescribably cruel policy of separating children from their parents at our southern border. Further, the Administration ended temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of people who had escaped dangerous conditions in their countries of origin and who now risk deportation.

“And now the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security seeks to impose a draconian rule that would make using health, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, or affordable housing programs a disqualifier for immigration, putting millions of families at risk. The proposed Public Charge rule would punish immigrants going through official immigration processes and their families for applying for or receiving benefits for which they are legally eligible. This would mean people will fear enrolling in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because it would render them ineligible for a green card. The legal use of Medicare prescription drug coverage or residency in public housing could also exclude immigrants from legal work status or from entering the country. There are already many limitations on non-citizens receiving assistance; this new rule will worsen the climate of fear the Trump Administration has doggedly imposed. If immigrants are too afraid to seek benefits they qualify for, the result will be a sicker, hungrier, poorer nation.

“We are a nation that has thrived from the contributions of poor immigrants. But the Trump Administration would place immigrants earning well above the poverty line at risk of failing to secure or maintain legal status (and some may be required to put up a $10,000 bond). It is one more example of the Trump Administration putting money before people and families.

“The Coalition on Human Needs stands with the millions of immigrants who are bearing the brunt of an agenda of racial animus and exclusion. We know this agenda harms innocent people and families. It harms all of us in communities across the nation. We know it does not reflect the principles for which we stand. We join with hundreds of thousands of Americans to show the harmfulness of this proposal, and call upon the Administration, Congress and the courts to reject it.”