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Date: 8/13/19

Press Contacts:

Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer (ccowen@cpc-nyc.org | 919-637-6866)



Federal rule will significantly expand the public charge determination on immigration test, penalizing use of public benefits and limiting immigration. 


New York, NY -- The Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) condemns the finalized public charge rule announced by the Federal government today as a systematic attack on low-income, immigrant families, and communities of color. 


“As the nation’s largest social services nonprofit for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, CPC understands that this rule will be devastating for generations to come. CPC believes that immigrants should not have to choose between staying in this country and getting access to food, housing, and healthcare. The public charge rule is one of the widest-reaching attacks in a series of anti-immigrant laws and policies to come out of this Federal Administration,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council.


The rule targets four public benefits that keep families from falling into crisis. These benefits prevent health emergencies, make housing affordable, and provide the nutrition needed for healthy, productive lives. Immigrant families could finally achieve legal permanent residency, but under this rule, they would face nutritional, health, housing, or economic ruin because they were stripped of the same benefits that supported generations of immigrant families before them. 


“This rule is designed to target immigrants that are people of color, low-income, limited English proficient, or are people with disabilities; and to force families to make an impossible 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. 


Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing racial group, both nationally and in New York State. In New York City, AAPIs make up 15% of the total population, and 96% of AAPI children struggling with poverty live with an immigrant parent, meaning that even U.S. born children can bear the brunt of a policy meant to punish and exclude foreign-born immigrants. Nationwide, 2.8 million AAPI immigrants live in families that receive one or more of the four public-benefit programs included in this rule, and up to 870,000 more are potentially eligible but under-enrolled.


“Since the rule was proposed, community members have come to us attempting to disenroll from benefits or shred previous application forms for fear that it would hurt their immigration status,” said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Chinese-American Planning Council. “Immigrants who have spent years building a life in the U.S. are entitled to the benefits they have contributed tax dollars toward. No family should be forced to choose between following a cruel, xenophobic rule and meeting their most basic human needs.”


Public charge tests have not always been part of U.S. immigration history. The origin of “public charge” was a precursor to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, a hateful and destructive policy whose impacts on generations of Chinese Americans can still be felt today. CPC stands firmly opposed to this proposal, which is a reflection of some of the most shameful and destructive immigration policies in our nation’s history. CPC will continue working to fight back against this rule, and to ensure that our community members have all of the information and resources needed to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. 


About CPC

The Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) is the nation's largest Asian American social services organization. Founded in 1965, CPC aims to promote the social and economic empowerment of Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income communities of New York City.