September 2019 Newsletter Interview: Kevin Douglas, Director of National Programs at GCIR

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Over the last several years, the EITC Funders Network has partnered with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) on issues at the intersection of tax credit access, immigration status, and racial and ethnic equity. Although the EITC is no longer on the list of benefits and services under the recently issued public charge rule, the actual and potential impact of the rule on low-income immigrant families remains devastating.

EITC recently spoke with Kevin Douglas, Director of National Programs at GCIR, about the latest developments, how the public charge rule fits into the larger picture of recent government actions, and the ways funders can engage.

What does the most recent action on public charge mean for immigrant children and families?

On August 14th, the Department of Homeland Security published an extreme new public charge rule, by which immigrants can be denied a green card if they use certain programs that support their health and well-being, and individuals deemed likely to use such programs in the future can be blocked from entering the country, including family members of U.S. citizens. Essentially, this rule places lawful noncitizens in the impossible position of foregoing basic needs, such as food, housing, and health care, if they wish to continue their lives in the United States. The public charge rule is scheduled to go into effect on October 15th, pending the resolution of litigation challenging the rule.

How does this regulation fit into the context of recent immigration enforcement actions impacting immigrant communities?

The harsh new public charge rule is consistent with this administration’s three core strategies on immigration: 1) dehumanizing and demonizing immigrants through deceitful and destructive narratives; 2) forcing immigrants already here to leave through unilateral policy directives that increase arbitrary and punitive detention and deportation; and 3) preventing would-be asylees, refugees, and immigrants from entering the country on humanitarian or other grounds. This agenda, along with the president’s statements, have consistently targeted lower-income immigrants of color, making clear the hateful and narrow vision of America held by the administration. The regulation also fits into a larger troubling pattern of the administration flouting the Constitution and the system of checks and balances to execute its anti-immigrant agenda. Courts have repeatedly found its actions to be in violation of the law.

 

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