In Blog: Factually Speaking, Uncategorized

Today is the last day for Michiganders and Americans across the country to stand up for immigrant families by submitting a public comment to oppose a dangerous proposed federal regulation. The Trump administration wants to block immigrant families from having a permanent, secure future in the United States and scare them away from seeking access to healthcare, nutrition and housing programs. From food banks to doctor’s offices, the impact of this proposal is already being felt in communities, and the harm will be greater if the rule is approved and implemented. You can help us stop this harmful policy.

Advocates, elected officials and service providers have been submitting public comments opposing this proposed “public charge” rule. They’ve shared powerful testimonies in defense of our immigrant neighbors. You can join them today by submitting a public comment by 11:59 pm ET.

Today, we’re sharing some of the voices speaking up for immigrants:

Michigan State Representatives: Rep. Darrin Camilleri, Rep. Stephanie Chang, Rep. Vanessa Guerra, Rep. Yousef Rabhi, Rep. Robert Wittenberg, Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Rep. Jim Ellison, Rep. Sylvia Santana, Rep. Erika Geiss, Rep. Pam Farris, Rep. Tenisha Yancey, Rep. Jon Hoadley, Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, Rep. Kristy Pagan, Rep. Terry J. Sabo, Rep. Jeremy Moss, Rep. Donna Lasinski, Rep. Phil Phelps

“Far from the vision of America as a beacon of freedom, the administration’s proposed changes are discriminatory, destabilizing, and harmful to public health and safety. They are laser-focused on excluding anyone who is not a rich, able-bodied applicant, leaving behind countless workers who help form the backbone of core American industries and children who will grow up to become productive members of society: business leaders, factory supervisors, doctors, or even public officials.

As elected officials, we work with immigrant communities and all Michiganders to ensure greater opportunity and security as migrants raise their families, pay their taxes, and enrich their communities. Rules around public benefits for immigrants are already heavily restrictive; people come to the U.S. for economic opportunity and not to draw on our social safety net, especially when we have long waiting periods and miles of red tape surrounding the process. Economic research shows that immigrants enrich the communities around them, including an “immigration surplus” that raises the salaries of native-born Americans in the area. Punitive policies based on exclusion will harm all Americans and damage our economy, particularly in industries where there is a need for workers such as agriculture and construction. […]

We join more than 1,500 other local and national organizations to condemn this proposal. These changes do not reflect American values of family, security, community, and fairness. America must support its own values by helping immigrant families to succeed. Many of the undersigned public officials are sons and daughters of immigrants, and we know personally how stories of immigration and integration is very much the story of the American dream.”

City of Lansing Mayor Andy Schor

“In the City of Lansing, we see daily the positive impact legal immigrants contribute to our economic and cultural communities. For those immigrants who are on the path to citizenship, the proposed rule would jeopardize the documentation of benefits of naturalization for earnings, employment and home ownership. This proposal will impact access to health care, housing options and, in the end, have a negative impact on our economy.”

Henry Ford Health System

“HFHS has a long and distinguished history of serving as a safety-net provider for vulnerable people living in our communities. […] HFHS believes the proposed rule will discourage legal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), since use of these public benefits will be viewed negatively by DHS when it assesses whether immigrants subject to the public charge rule can enter the country, extend their stay, change their visa status, or work to secure a green card. […]

Michigan recently expanded its Medicaid program (the Healthy Michigan Plan) to help reduce gaps in coverage and better manage care among low-income people in the state. This expansion succeeded in increasing Medicaid enrollment by about 675,000 people in June 2018…Overall, Michigan reduced the number of uninsured in the state by 54% from 2013 to 2017. This has been a big step forward in improving health care coverage for the most vulnerable people across Michigan and in the communities we serve, and in reducing levels of charity care provided by safety net hospitals.

HFHS is very concerned that for legal immigrants and their families, some of these gains in health care coverage – and health- will be undone if they are forced to choose between enrolling in Medicaid (and other public benefits to which they are eligible) or their immigration status…”

Cherry Health Federally Qualified Health Center

“As the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Michigan, Cherry Health serves over 80,000 patients annually, many of whom are legal immigrants. The public charge proposal announced by the Administration is cause for profound concern for us, and FQHC’s across the nation and the 28 million patients they serve […]

“Cherry Health’s mission is to treat the underserved so they can access the high-quality, affordable health care they need. Access to affordable healthcare provides the medically underserved with the opportunity to contribute to their communities, thrive and reach their full potential. The rule will likely result in individuals, including those seen at health centers, being deterred from addressing their health care needs, ultimately leading to worse health outcomes for them and their communities. As a patient-centered organization, by mission we seek to provide appropriate and meaningful access to care for all those who come through our doors and fear that this rule works in contrast to this longstanding goal.”

Dr. Maureen C, Pediatrician, Detroit, Michigan

“I am a Medical Director of a school-based health program that serves 10 public elementary, middle, and high schools. We care for a large immigrant population in Southwest Detroit and treat over 800 children and adolescents from Mexico and Central America in our school-based clinics. On a daily basis, I see the positive impact that supportive programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have on the children in my community. However, due to the proposed policies in this rule, I have seen parents forgoing vital services to keep themselves and their children healthy out of fear that using such programs jeopardizes their chances of getting a visa or green card. […]

The proposed rule does nothing to keep my community safer and does nothing to help my community thrive. Investing in nutrition, health care, and other essential needs keeps children learning, parents working, families strong, and allows all of us to contribute fully to our communities.”

James M. Smith, President, Eastern Michigan University

“We believe that such regulations will create a hostile environment that dissuades enrollment and retention in post-secondary programs by discouraging students from enrolling in programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, as well as programs that provide housing assistance.

Low-income students who do not access these and similar benefits are more likely to refrain from seeking education or, if already enrolled, to drop out, even in cases when an individual is eligible, in need, and successfully obtaining higher education. Nobody will benefit under such scenarios. We encourage DHS to withdraw the proposed rule in its entirety.”

These are just a few of the 189,000 comments against changes to the public charge rule. But your voice is needed, too. Whether you’re a doctor, a teacher, a neighbor or a friend, you can weigh in on how changes to public charge would do a disservice to communities around Michigan. It just takes a minute to make a difference.

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