In September, the Trump Administration proposed changes to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation expanding the definition of “public charge” and putting immigrant families, including children, at risk if they use public benefits programs.
On October 10th, the Federal Government officially published the proposed changes, starting the formal 60-day comment period for the public to provide feedback before they can be finalized.
CPAF shares the concerns of families, communities, and organizations around the country about the DHS’s proposed changes to the “public charge” regulations. These changes exacerbate existing barriers and create new ones, preventing immigrant survivors of domestic and sexual violence from accessing essential services and safety nets.
Below is some basic information taken from resources put out by Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, Protect Immigrant Families (PIF), the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).
The proposed changes would impact Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), Visa Seekers, and Green Card Holders. The possible changes will affect people who are applying to be Lawful Permanent Residents and applying for a visa into the country or adjusting their visa status, or who are LPRs but have been out of the country for more than 6 months and are seeking to come back to the U.S. This excludes T-visa and U-visa applicants/holders.
Under the proposed rule, benefits counted against immigrants include:
- SNAP, known in California as CalFresh
- TANF, known in California as CalWorks
- State/local cash benefit programs for income maintenance
- Other federal benefits programs for the purpose of income maintenance
- Medicaid (known in California as MediCal), but not emergency Medicaid, or Medicaid benefits received by foreign-born children who will derive citizenship from their U.S. citizen parents.
- Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy
- Benefits provided for long-term care
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
- Public Housing
- Any federal, state, county or city benefit program that is not specifically exempted
For more details and for information provided in API languages please check out:
What can you do?
Federal law requires DHS to open a way for the public to review the changes and submit comments. DHS has to review and respond to the comments before it publishes a final rule. Join CPAF in letting DHS know that the rule would be harmful to you, your family, and your community.
Share this information with your network, your neighbors, and your family so that they are informed about how the proposed changes might affect them and how they can speak out against the changes. Now is the time to make your voice heard! If you do not want to include any personal information, you can ask a friend to submit a comment for you.
There are several ways to submit a comment to DHS: