A young mother who receives food through WIC. An ailing grandfather who gets government support to pay his heating bill. A couple whose children receive vital medical care via the Affordable Care Act. These are just a few of the countless foreign-born individuals who, under a newly proposed federal regulation that expands the definition of ‘public charge,’ could be blocked from obtaining a visa or permanent residency status due to accessing programs that support the health and well-being of their families.
This policy change, which is currently under review by the Office for Management and Budget, aims to curtail family immigration by punishing low-income families for participating in health and social services for which their children are eligible. If enacted, families would be forced to choose between fundamental needs, like food and health care, and their future in this country.
This month’s edition of GCIR’s Monthly Immigration Policy Calls provided an in-depth review of this regulation, explored the meaning of ‘public charge,’ and highlighted how a campaign, “Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future,” is uniting a cross-sector of key national, state, and local level organizations to protect and defend access to health care, nutrition programs, public services, and economic supports for immigrants and their families.
- Jonathan Blazer, Senior Program Officer, Four Freedoms Fund
- Olivia Golden, Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy
- Madison Hardee, Senior Policy Analyst/Attorney, Center for Law and Social Policy
- Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
- Laura Speer, Associate Director Policy Reform and Advocacy, Annie E. Casey Foundation