The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

FRAC Statement on New Trump Administration "Public Charge" Rule; Reminder re FRAC Webinar today, 2 PM

As you heard from us yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted the public charge final rule for inspection earlier this morning.  It will be published in the Nov 14 Federal Register and take effect 60 days later, on Oct 15, 2019.  We have received a number of emails from concerned advocates.  Please remember. this rule is NOT in effect now and it is NOT retroactive (e.g. does not effect benefits received prior to the effective data of the rule once in effect). 

 A number of organizations have scheduled webinars to review and advise on this horrid rule, including the Food Research and Action Center.  We strongly encourage you to tune in. Follow this link to register Wednesday, August 14 at 2 pm EST. 

As expected, the final rule adds receipt of SNAP, federally subsidized/public housing and Medicaid to the list of public benefits that will be considered for "public charge" purposes, meaning a basis to deny legal status to immigrants seeking admission based on a family, employer and certain other circumstances.  The final rule did not add the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) and it exempts Medicaid received by children under age 21 and pregnant women. The rule does not count SNAP/housing or Medicaid benefits received by an immigrant prior to the effective date of the new rule (although extremely few immigrants qualify for SNAP without green card status and many have to wait 5 years in status to qualify).  It also lays out the weight given to various factors in the totality of circumstances test in such as way as to make it much harder for most lower income families to overcome the public charge test in the future- even if they have never qualified for nor ever used public benefits prior to their application for admission, readmission or adjustment of status.  Being low income may simply exclude otherwise qualified immigrants, as legal status in the United States has become a wealth test.

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the FRAC/Protecting Immigrant Families webinar tomorrow and to learn as much as you can about how to to local media and talk with immigrant families who may have heard about the passage of this federal rule.  We expect there will be legal challenges and we will keep you posted on that front. 

 Pat and Vicky

 

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Food Research & Action Center <mambrose@frac.org>
Date: Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 5:26 PM
Subject: This is (Not) America: New Trump Administration Rule Will Create More Hunger and Poverty
To: Pat Baker <pbaker@mlri.org>
 

Media Contact:
Emily Pickren
epickren@frac.org
202-640-1118

This is (Not) America: New Trump Administration Rule
Will Create More Hunger and Poverty

Statement attributed to Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

WASHINGTON, August 12, 2019 — Today, the Trump administration posted the final public charge rule in the Federal Register for inspection. The rule would increase hunger and poverty across the nation, and force immigrant families — including those with U.S. citizen children — to make impossible choices between food and family. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) strongly opposes this deeply flawed, mean-spirited rule.

The rule is scheduled for official publication on Wednesday, August 14, and is slated to take effect on October 15 unless Congress or the courts act to stop or delay this ill-conceived rule.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) received more than 266,000 comments — “the vast majority of which opposed the rule,” according to DHS. The rule redefines what being a public charge means by counting wealth and income as the primary markers of a person’s future contribution, fundamentally changing who can enter and stay in the country.

In addition to making low-paid work a negative factor, it expands the list of public assistance programs to be considered for a public charge determination. Added to the list are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, as well as Medicaid and federal housing assistance. The rule does not apply to WIC, school meals, and other child and older adult nutrition programs.

The rule seems designed to scare away eligible immigrant families as much as or more than to affect permissible benefit use. SNAP participation is already limited to narrow categories of immigrants — the vast majority of whom are not subject to public charge determinations. In addition, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are not subject to the public charge determinations contemplated in this rule. The rule also does not apply to many categories of immigrants, including refugees, asylees, survivors of domestic violence, and other protected groups.

Prior to its final publication, the specter of the rule — in conjunction with other attacks on immigrants by the Trump administration — has led to a chilling effect on the use of SNAP and other critical nutrition assistance programs, resulting in a poorer, sicker, and hungrier nation.

Immigrant families — whether comprised of children, older adults, veterans, low-income wage earners, and people with disabilities — often include U.S. citizens who have been scared to use SNAP even though the new public charge rule would not apply to them.

This final rule is yet another cruel attempt by the Trump administration designed to instill fear and make it tougher for immigrant families — particularly families of color and low-income families — to enter and stay in the U.S. legally and to access programs that safeguard their health care, nutrition, housing, and economic security.

FRAC serves as the nutrition lead on the steering committee for Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, which is leading a nationwide effort to reject the Trump administration’s attacks on access to health care, nutrition, housing, and economic security programs for millions of immigrant families. FRAC will be sharing resources and strategies to support the food security of immigrant families in the face of this rule and other threats.

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The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. 

  

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