Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily lifted a nationwide court order blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s revised “public charge” rule. The 5-4 decision allows the rule to go into effect while legal challenges play out in lower courts.
This rule creates a discriminatory immigration system that only serves the wealthy. It targets immigrants legally seeking permanent resident status in the U.S., forcing them to choose between family unity and their ability to access basic needs such as food, shelter and health care.
“Public charge” has been a longstanding immigration test administered to immigrants entering the country or seeking permanent residency to determine if they will become primarily dependent on the government for financial support.
For more than 100 years, the U.S. government has recognized that social supports like health care and nutrition help families thrive and remain productive contributors to society. The government has long clarified that immigrant families can seek health and nutrition benefits for eligible families without fear of harming their immigration case.
Today, families no longer have that assurance.
Under the new rule, the definition of “public charge” is drastically broadened to consider whether a person is likely to use public benefits. This broader definition makes it harder for low-income immigrants to legally immigrate to the U.S. through family-based petitions or adjust their immigration status to become legal permanent residents.
While this rule directly affects a small number of people, fear surrounding it has already done considerable harm.
Last year, the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families reported that the U.S. saw its first increase in the uninsured rate for children in more than a decade. The Kaiser Family Foundation has also reported about half of community health centers reported people declining or withdrawing from coverage because of this regulation.
Locally Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy has helped families who fear punishment for using benefits they are legally eligible to receive MORE than the instability created by going without this support.
The rule is a dangerous departure from our country’s proud identity as a nation of immigrants seeking the American Dream’s promise of opportunity earned through persistence and hard work.
Instead, of welcoming the “tired, poor, huddled masses” of the world to our country, this rule allows the wealthy to jump to the front of the line and cut off families who have waited years to reunite.
It punishes low-income people for wanting to legally live in the U.S. It denies vulnerable families the chance to even try to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.”
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy serves hardworking low-income immigrant families who deserve a fair shot at the American Dream.
Now that this rule will go into effect, we are certain that many more families will decline critical access to nutrition, healthcare and housing they are eligible to receive, creating more confusion for families who already live in fear and vulnerable to exploitation.
This chilling effect destabilizes families, and it will impact our community for years to come.
Building a strong community means helping families thrive. When families are too afraid to seek assistance to meet their basic needs, our whole community suffers. Family safety and unity should not have to come at the expense of stability.
From the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign:
What we can do RIGHT NOW
This rule is scary for families and communities they live in. It’s important for us to remember that we must fight fear with facts.
Yes, the Supreme Court’s ruling allows the public charge regulation to take effect, but …
- This rule may not be in place forever. However, it is in place for now and needs to be considered when making decisions for your family.
- The Administration hasn’t said when the rule will take effect. Follow Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for updates as we learn more from our national partners.
- The legal battle over this rule continues in the lower courts.
Fear is the Trump administration’s real weapon. Facts are families’ best defense against it:
- Most immigrants who are subject to public charge are not eligible for the programs listed in the rule.
- Get the facts to do what’s best for your family.
- Anyone with questions about how this rule will impact their family can contact Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.
The fight to ensure all families have the right to thrive isn’t over.
- This regulation goes against our national identity. We are a nation of immigrants and that’s what makes our country great. Everyone deserves a fair shot at the American Dream, not just the wealthy.
- Immigrant families and allies must fight this regulation on different fronts.
- Get the facts to do what’s best for your family
- Help the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign take this fight to Congress
- Participate in the 2020 Census to ensure a complete and honest count. Urge others to participate.
- Make sure your state and local government officials understand how this rule hurts our community.