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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


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