‘Public Charge’ Rule Aims to Slash Legal Pathways to Immigrant Families

SAN DIEGO, CA — Today, the Trump administration announced its new “public charge” rule that would block legal pathways to lawful permanent residency to immigrant families using certain safety net programs in an effort to limit legal immigration.

Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S., or what’s called a “public charge.” The new rules, made public Monday, detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them. This includes housing vouchers, Medicaid, food stamps or other forms of public assistance, making struggling families choose between making ends meet at a critical time in their lives and their legal status.

The “public charge” rules are expected to go into effect October 15th, pending litigation from groups like the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), which are taking legal action to stop it from going into effect.

With this new rule, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now review public assistance alongside household income, health, and education in order to determine  whether someone gets a green card, which is a step towards citizenship.

Lilian Serrano, chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, issued the following statement: 

“Trump is weaponizing our nation’s safety net programs to limit legal migration in yet another effort to scapegoat immigrants for political gain, and is beyond cruel.. We are already seeing families not take public benefits because of this rule, even though the rule has yet to go into effect. Instead of helping these struggling families find their footing during critical moments in the lives, the administration is trying to make their lives as difficult as possible. Our country’s safety nets are there so that children have enough food to eat and their parents have access to health care so their families can thrive. We are glad to see that many of our partner organizations are stepping up and suing the administration for this, and we hope that these efforts will stop the rule from going into effect in October. In the meantime, we will continue to work with immigrant families to ensure that they are empowered with the most up-to-date information.”

About the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Since 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC). Through SDIRC, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants, and educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants. More at: www.immigrantsandiego.org.