Voices for Utah Children’s Response to Finalized Public Charge Rule

12 August 2019 Published in What's New?

Today the Department of Homeland Security released its finalized Public Charge rule.  This rule marks a dangerous departure from current federal immigration policy and will have a grave impact on the well-being of Utah children, families and communities. The Trump administration’s Public Charge Rule forces families to choose between reuniting with their loved ones and accessing critical programs during tough times.

Historically the Public Charge rule weighed factors to decide whether certain green card and visa applicants are likely to use only specific public benefits in the future. The new rule dramatically changes the definition and scope of Public Charge and who it applies to, favoring wealthier families. Specifically, it will now apply to green card and visa applicants who are likely to use more than a minimal amount of cash assistance, health, nutrition, or housing programs. It negatively weighs against children, seniors, people with limited English proficiency, limited formal education, and large families. It expands the types of benefits that would consider someone a “public charge.” This includes vital programs that address basic needs for families: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare Part D, Federal Public Housing, Section 8 Housing Vouchers and Section 8 Project Based rental assistance.

Programs like Medicaid and SNAP support families who are facing tough times. This rule will hurt our communities, creating a climate of fear where immigrant families are kept from using the programs that support them.

At a time when the number of children who do not have health insurance in Utah is increasing, the new Public Charge rule will lead to even more children going without the health care they need to stay healthy, do better in school and succeed in life. This rule contributes to trauma and adverse conditions for Utah children.

Utah is a place where all children, regardless of immigration status or background, should be able to thrive.

We call on our members of Congress to reject this rule. Voices for Utah Children joins with local, state and national groups and community members in opposing this rule, which harms families in our state, creates unnecessary fear and does not allow our families and children to move forward. We will continue to work to ensure that immigrant families and children are welcome and included in our state.