Parents as Teachers Speaks Out Against New “Public Charge” Rule
Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a change in regulations that will jeopardize the well-being of immigrant families, including families with American citizen children. The new rule, which looks more closely at immigrants’ financial resources and broadens the definition of “public charge”, is set to go into effect on October 15. Families and children deemed a “public charge” will be considered grounds for denial of permanent residence or citizenship.
This new rule is expected to significantly impact low-income immigrant families by worsening hunger, poverty, and exacerbating unmet health and housing needs because immigrant families will not seek programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other social safety net programs that support their basic needs. With about one in four children having at least one immigrant parent, this issue will impact millions of lives.
“This policy threatens families, including families with citizen children,” remarked Constance Gully, President and CEO of Parents as Teachers National Center. “While the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and other state-funded home visiting programs will not be part of the determination of a public charge, families eligible for home visiting services will be impacted significantly. This rule will force immigrant families to choose between immediate family needs like housing, food and healthcare, and the prospect of securing a permanent immigration status. As an organization that promotes the health, safety, and well-being of families with young children, Parents as Teachers National Center strongly opposes this rule.”
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