Shaquita Ogletree
On Friday, December 7, CWLA submitted comments in response to the proposed changes that would penalize immigrant families who seek assistance meeting their basic needs.

The “public charge” test is designed to identify people who may depend on the government as their main source of support. On October 10, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a federal register notice, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, which proposes to expand the “public charge” test to include Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance to the list of benefits. The notice seeks to change the definition of “public charge,” and expand the list of public benefits. In the letter CWLA states:

“We see this proposed rule as creating barriers for families who are immigrants and their children. As we pointed out in our 2018 agenda to the Administration, policies that may restrict access to human services that target some of these families including documented immigrants will only increase stress on the families and the children. The Administration must ensure that the best interests of children, including children who are U.S.-citizens living in families who are mixed-status, are held paramount in immigration policy decisions.”

Comments further highlighted concerns on harmful outcomes on children and families:

“Children in families of immigrants benefit when they have access to programs and services that help meet their basic needs and promote their development. Children are inherently dependent upon their parents for emotional, physical, and material support. Penalizing parents who are immigrants for using publicly funded health, nutrition, and housing programs—for which they are legally eligible—may also result in children losing these services. In addition, parents’ own health and well-being affects their ability to meet children’s needs.”

For a copy of the CWLA comments go here.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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