On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a proposed public charge regulation. If finalized in its proposed form, immigrant families would be afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs. These programs help families stay strong and productive, and raise children who thrive.

These changes would mark a significant and harmful departure from long-standing immigration policy. For over 100 years, the government has recognized that supports like health care, nutrition and housing assistance are necessary for families to thrive and remain productive. And decades ago, the government clarified that immigrant families can access these necessities without fear that doing so will harm their immigration cases. 

If this rule is finalized, that assurance can no longer be offered. 

Why is the Change Dangerous?

The current definition of “public charge” is a person who has become or is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Under the current policy, the only benefits considered in the public charge test are cash assistance such as Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, comparable state or local programs and government-funded, long-term institutional care. The proposed rule dramatically changes the definition of public charge to apply to anyone who is likely to use more than a minimal amount of cash, health, nutrition or housing programs and applies a similar test to bar extensions of non-immigrant visas and changes of non-immigrant status. 

With about one in four children in the United States having at least one immigrant parent, this issue touches millions and is critical now and for our nation’s future.

How Can I Help?

With less than a week before the comment period end, it is important to speak out now …

Your comments make a difference by raising the profile of an issue to policy makers and the public, and shows that this issue is important to hundreds of thousands of people. 

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