CPC Statement on the Proposed Changes to Public Charge
CPC stands firmly opposed to the Federal Administration’s recently proposed expansion of the “public charge” definition and condemns it as an explicit and systematic attack on low-income, immigrant families, and communities of color. CPC stands united in our opposition, starting tonight at 5:30 p.m. when we stand in solidarity on the Lower East Side to protest and condemn this destructive proposal.
In a move that has been rumored since February, the Federal Administration’s proposed changes would significantly expand how “public charge” is determined. Likelihood to become a “public charge” is one of the many factors considered when determining application for permanent residency or visas to the United States.
The newly proposed categories would significantly expand to include nutrition assistance, housing, and healthcare benefits, while simultaneously establishing minimum education levels and household income thresholds. It would also subject individuals to hefty bonds that hold an application ransom to discourage the applicant from enrolling in any of the benefits listed.
“The proposed public charge rule is one of the widest-reaching attacks in a series of anti-immigrant laws and policies to come out of the Federal Administration,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, “It enshrines family separation by forcing families to choose between their immigration status and meeting their most basic needs.”
The benefits included in the proposed rule are ones that keep families from falling into crisis -- they prevent health emergencies, prevent homelessness, and provide the nutrition needed for healthy, productive lives. Should these benefits be included in the final ruling, a family may find that once they finally achieve legal permanent residency, they face nutritional, health, housing, or economic ruin because they were stripped of the same benefits that supported generations of immigrant families before them.
“If the public charge rule is finalized, families would be forced to make an impossibly narrow choice between health, stability, and security for themselves and their loved ones or legal status in this country,” said Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chinese-American Planning Council.
“By establishing minimum income thresholds that are higher than the median American household, the Federal Administration is demanding more from low-income, immigrant communities while entitling them to less,” said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Chinese-American Planning Council. “Immigrants who have spent years building a life here are entitled to the benefits they have contributed tax dollars toward and should have the same opportunity to support their families’ security and wellbeing.”
Public charge tests have not always been part of US immigration history. The origin of “public charge” was a precursor to the Chinese Exclusion Act, a hateful and destructive policy whose impacts on generations of Chinese-Americans can still be felt today. This proposal is a reflection some of the most shameful and destructive immigration policies in our nation’s history and CPC stands firmly in opposition.
Take to the streets
Stand with us tonight. Please join and share the New York Immigration Coalition rally happening tonight. Look for CPC signs and banners or contact us to meet up.
When: Monday, September 24th, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Where: Corner of Orchard and Delancey Streets, New York, NY, 10002
Who: Advocates, Community Members, Elected Officials
What: Protest the Federal Government’s attack on immigrant families over public charge
Know the facts
Though the proposed plans are released, they have not taken affect. Nothing will change until a final version is released after the public comment period. Community members should continue to take part in the benefits that sustain and protect them. There will be no retroactive effect until the rule is final. Accurate information allows us to maintain trust and access to our community.
Unlike many of the Federal Administration’s attacks on immigrants, this one cannot become law until the administration reviews the comments of the people. Your voice is part of the rulemaking procedure. Public comments can change, delay, and halt proposed rule changes. They also establish an administrative record for potential lawsuit or inquiry into the constitutionality of proposed laws.
Most importantly, public pressure works. The leaked drafts that the media was given earlier this year were significantly different than the ones formally released this weekend. It is more important than ever before to stand in loud opposition to this proposed rule.
- New York Immigration Coalition "Public Charge" information page
- Protecting Immigrant Families campaign resource page