VoterVoice Post

Ask federal govt to withdraw rule that would harm immigrant families

December 5, 2018 by Jeff Caruso


Ask DHS to withdraw rule that would harm immigrant families

USCCB Calls for Action to Protect Immigrant Families
In October, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule on the "public charge" eligibility requirement that the federal government considers when determining whether to admit an immigrant into the U.S. or grant lawful permanent residence (a Green Card).
The public charge policy ensures that arriving legal immigrants and non-immigrants are not overly reliant on government resources. Since 1999, the federal government’s evaluation has looked at the likelihood that a legal immigrant or visa applicant would require cash assistance and long-term institutionalization at government expense. By contrast, the newly proposed rule operates like an income test, measuring nutritional aid, non-emergency Medicaid, housing and other vital benefits.  This approach could negatively affect many families – forcing them to forego important safety net benefits to avoid exclusion under the rule, which would result in separation from loved ones.
In their comments, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA note:
“We are, deeply concerned with the proposed rule, which we believe would undermine the fundamental life and dignity of persons that we are called to welcome and support."
  • Worse health outcomes, including increased prevalence of obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children, and reduced prescription adherence;
  • Increased use of emergency rooms and emergent care as a method of primary health care due to delayed treatment;
  • Increased prevalence of communicable diseases, including among members of the U.S. citizen population who are not vaccinated;
  • Increases in uncompensated care in which a treatment or service is not paid for by an insurer or patient;
  • Increased rates of poverty and housing instability; and
  • Reduced productivity and educational attainment.
Public comments on the proposed rule are due by December 10. We ask that you submit your own, asking that this deeply concerning change in policy be withdrawn. To send your comment, go to the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants Action Page where you can find suggested talking points and then click on the submit link to fill in your contact information (required on federal comment forms). You will then be prompted to add your comments.
You can also read the proposed regulation, or read the USCCB backgrounder to learn more about the public charge issue. Thank you!

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The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.