A new regulation was proposed by the federal government that could harm immigrant families’ ability to access nutrition support and health care. This proposed rule on “public charge” would expand the test used to decide if someone can obtain legal residency in the U.S.
If the rule takes effect, the federal government would consider whether an immigrant has used or is likely to use public benefits, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing assistance. The test would also consider an immigrant’s income and preexisting medical conditions.
The proposal is just that – a proposal. There is a 60-day comment period that began yesterday and ends on December 10. Any changes to current practice will not take effect until after the government considers the comments and the proposed rule is finalized. The new proposal could force immigrant parents to choose between keeping their families together in this country or accessing vital health, housing and nutrition programs to stay healthy.
What can you do?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed a Public Charge Advocacy Toolkit to help. Please take time over the next 60 days to make your voice heard by submitting personal comments opposing the public charge regulation, and by using our toolkit to speak out in other ways against the public charge rule.
Thank you for all you do to protect children and families.