For Immediate Release
August 12, 2019
Changes to “public charge” rule announced today will incite fear, harm families and children
NOTE: Leaders from the Protecting Immigrant Families Michigan campaign will hold a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 11 am, corresponding with the official posting of the rule. Press are welcome to attend in person at ACCESS Community Health and Research Center (6450 Maple St, Dearborn, MI 48126) or join virtually on a Facebook Live video streaming from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center’s page.
Lansing—A coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations is speaking out today against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” rule change, which will substantially restrict access to green cards and various types of visas for immigrants who are not already relatively well-off financially. The Department announced today that the rule change will be officially posted on Wednesday, Aug. 14. If litigation does not prevent the rule from taking effect, the policy will take effect in 60 days, which is Tuesday, Oct. 15.
This dangerous rule fundamentally changes our nation’s approach to immigration, making family income and potential use of healthcare, nutrition or housing programs a central consideration in whether to offer people an opportunity to make their lives in this country.
Leaders from the Protecting Immigrant Families Michigan campaign at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, ACCESS, ABISA, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation and the Michigan League for Public Policy have issued the following statements:
Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Michigan League for Public Policy Chief Operating Officer—“We are appalled that these changes to the public charge rule will be published Wednesday amid the barrage of anti-immigrant sentiment coming out of the White House. The human impact is terrifying, but there’s an economic loss, too. Michigan could expect up to a $214 million reduction in federal funds that support families, and on top of that the negative ripple effects through the economy could be as high as $409 million as hospitals and doctors’ offices see reduced revenues and as folks buy less in supermarkets and other stores.”
Madiha Tariq, MPH, ACCESS Community Health & Research Center Deputy Director—“At ACCESS, we strongly believe that healthcare is a human right and should be accessible to all. The public charge rule deprives immigrant communities of this right. Furthermore, the rule puts a financial burden on health care providers who will now have to treat advanced health conditions instead of focusing on prevention. This increased burden is due to disenrollment in health care services like Medicaid that will have a significant impact on our public health systems. In community clinics such as ours, we continue to see individuals needing emergency care because they cannot afford to seek preventative care. We have also seen clients who have canceled appointments for enrollment into benefits such as Medicaid in response to the public charge rule. Clients who seek preventative care live healthier lives. In addition, advanced treatment and emergency room care for those who don’t have access to preventative health costs the state more in the long run.”
Seydi Sarr, African Bureau of Immigration and Social Affairs Founder—“This public charge rule change is designed to further disenfranchise already vulnerable immigrant communities, crystallizing fear, making people feel they must choose between the people they love and the things they need.”
Eva Alvarez, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center Public Policy Coordinator—“Fear and misinformation are two of the most dangerous weapons in this rule. It is critical that immigrant communities stay informed so they can make decisions for themselves and their families based on fact and not fear. We urge community members to consult an immigration attorney if they fear this rule change will affect them and their families.”
Cindy Gamboa, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation Community Organizing & Advocacy Director—“Not only will the public charge rule keep out thousands of people who could help our communities thrive, but this will additionally cause millions of children and families to live without essential services because they fear it could affect someone they love. I’ve already seen the fear in my community.”