Letter to the Editor on Public Charge

Thursday, December 6, 2018

On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security filed a change to a long-standing tenet of federal immigration law that will endanger the health and well-being of American children and families. If enacted, it would put millions of working immigrant families and their children at a great risk of hunger, poverty, homelessness, and other hardships; and destabilize communities across the entire country.

The Public Charge rule change seeks to bar noncitizens from obtaining legal permanent residency status if the government determines that the applicant is likely to become a “public charge”--an individual likely to use public benefits, such as Medicaid, SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), some parts of Medicare, and housing subsidies such as Section 8. As a result, immigrant families, many of whom are American citizens, are choosing to opt out of these and other critical public benefits to avoid being separated from their families or compromising their legal status.