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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Protect Immigrant Families, Submit Comments Today!

For the next 60 days, the public is invited to weigh in on a new Trump Administration proposal to limit pathways to immigration for individuals who access certain anti-poverty programs. Causa urges the public to oppose the proposed rule by submitting comments via by the December 10 deadline.

The expansion to the so-called public charge rule would require the government to deny green cards
to many lawfully present immigrants if they access benefits to cover their family’s basic needs, including SNAP benefits, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing assistance.

“This rule change will push Oregonian families out of safety net programs designed to provide a lifeline during critical times. We join thousands of organizations from across the country taking a stand against this threat to the well-being of immigrants and their families.” said Erin Pettigrew of Innovation Law Lab. Pettigrew helps lead Protect Oregon’s Immigrant Families, a cross-sector coalition, including Causa, opposing the proposed change.

Many categories of immigrants are exempt from public charge consideration. However, due to new, aggressive minimum income requirements, the regulation will effectively prohibit lawful immigration avenues to people with low-wage jobs. Many families, who are otherwise eligible, will avoid seeking life-saving assistance, as changes to public benefits regulations have previously resulted in a chilling effect, resulting in dramatic declines in enrollment by immigrant families in programs that protect health.

Olivia Quiroz, Executive Director of Oregon Latino Health Coalition, describes how this chilling effect has begun to impact the families served by her organization in the Portland Metro area: “The fear of public charge is real to many families around the area. Recently we received a call from a Latinx family in Clackamas county. A mother who currently got her baby enrolled into a new Oregon Health Plan program fears public charge will impact her children’s healthcare coverage.”

Historians have also warned that public charge regulations have been abused in the past to deny otherwise-eligible applicants access to lawful immigration avenues, based on race or religion. Because it would almost exclusively affect family-based immigrants, the Trump proposal will disproportionately affect families of color.

“The Administration claims that the goal of this proposal is to promote self-sufficiency; but we know that their true intent is to sow fear in our community, causing vulnerable families to question whether it is safe to feed or house their families, whether or not the rule would affect them,” said Andrea Williams, Executive Director of Causa Oregon, adding:  “time and again the Administration has converted its xenophobic rhetoric into policy by targeting immigrants of color, and this proposal is no different. We want families to know they are not alone. Everyone’s voice matters and we are fighting back.”

Causa urges the public to submit comments before December 10 via

Monday, September 24, 2018

Public Charge Proposal would Harm Immigrant Families

This week, the Trump administration released a new proposal that would radically expand the definition of “Public Charge,” creating new immigration penalties for low income families who access safety net programs.

Public Charge is a term the government uses now in immigration applications to describe a person who relies on cash assistance or long term institutionalization to survive. Being considered a Public Charge can result in the denial of a green card application. The new proposal would expand the application of Public Charge to impact millions more families than it does today, prioritizing wealth while punishing lower-income families who have waited for years to realize their dreams of obtaining permanent residency.

Read the statement from Causa’s Executive Director, Andrea Williams:

“In Oregon we know that healthy families create strong communities. These proposed changes would harm immigrants living in Oregon by forcing them to choose between qualifying for a green card, and providing basic services like food, nutrition, and housing to their families. The impact could be enormous; twelve percent of Oregon’s population are US born children with at least one immigrant parent. To protect the health and well-being of all of our families, we strongly condemn the Trump administration’s harmful new proposal. 

The Administration claims that the goal of this proposal is to promote self sufficiency - but we know that their true intent is to sow fear in our community, causing vulnerable families to question whether it is safe to feed or house their families, whether or not the rule would affect them. Time and again the Administration has converted its xenophobic rhetoric into policy by targeting immigrants from racial minorities, and this proposal is no different. 

Causa is joining with hundreds of organizations in Oregon and throughout the country to stop this attack on Oregon families, and we’ll need your help. Soon, the public will have the chance to make comments on this harmful proposal. Join Causa and pledge to speak out against the Public Charge rule change and speak up for Oregon families.

We want our families to know that you are not alone. Your voice matters, and there is still time to fight back.” 

Public Charge and how it affects each family is a complicated issue and it is important to get the facts before making changes in your household. Find our Quick Facts below and visit Oregon Immigration Resource to find more resources for families and providers.

Quick facts About Public Charge:

  • Public Charge does not apply to everybody. Learn how the rule applies to you.
  • Don’t give up services your family needs due to fear. Get the facts before making decisions.
  • Help is available: Contact an immigration attorney with questions about immigration options and public benefits. (Find one at Contact Oregon’s Public Benefits Hotline with questions about benefits and enrollment: (800) 520-5292.
  • The proposed rule would not apply retroactively, meaning that when and if it becomes actual policy, families will have ample time to make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones. 

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Congressman Luis Gutierrez to visit Oregon Oct.4!

We are one month away from the 2018 American Dreamer Awards Gala on October 4th!

This year Congressman Luis Gutiérrez will join us as our Key Note speaker for the American Dreamer Awards Gala. Representative Gutiérrez was born and raised in Chicago to parents who migrated from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s.

Rep. Gutiérrez is nationally recognized for his tireless leadership championing issues of importance to Latino and immigrant communities. He has been at the center of every major legislative debate on immigration reform and immigration issues for more than a dozen years.

Will you join us to listen to Congressman Gutiérrez speak on immigration issues?

Purchase Tickets Here!

See you there!

Andrea Williams
Causa Executive Director

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