Coalition of immigrant rights groups urges communities to spread facts, not fear, on public charge rule change

FREAReposted news release from the Michigan League for Public Policy

On Monday, Jan. 27, the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision that allows the new public charge rule aimed at immigrant families to take effect while several cases challenging its legality make their way through the courts. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services intends to begin implementing the rule on Feb. 24, 2020. The Protecting Immigrant Families – Michigan Coalition issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. The statement may be attributed to Staff Attorney Tania Morris Diaz of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC).

“This new rule is essentially a wealth test that severely changes the face of family-based immigration in the United States, and threatens the health, nutrition, and housing of families all over the country. The rule is designed to disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, and undermines our nation’s core values.

We must ensure that families are equipped with accurate information about public charge so they can make decisions based on facts and not fear. Many immigrant families, including those with United States citizen children, have been unnecessarily disenrolling from public benefits as a precaution in light of the new rule. Right now, direct service organizations around the country are working hard to prevent this harmful chilling effect, and to address existing confusion about the public charge rule itself.

“Most families can continue to get benefits they’re eligible for without it affecting their immigration options.

“The ultimate fate of the final rule is currently unclear, as these lawsuits will still have to be decided on their merits, and the courts hearing these cases may still strike down the rule. If this rule is fully and permanently implemented, it will have a serious impact on our family-based immigration system. We have yet to know how this highly complicated new rule will be applied to future green card applicants, but every case is different and outcomes will depend on the circumstances of each applicant. We encourage individuals seeking to obtain a green card through a family member to educate themselves on the process and speak with an attorney to determine how to proceed.

“In this country, we don’t value people’s contributions to their community by the size of their bank account. We are hopeful that regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the temporary injunction, this rule is ultimately struck down by the courts as unlawful.”

The Protecting Immigrant Families – Michigan campaign urges the media to put out the right information and help document the harmful impacts of this rule.

As an important reminder, the public charge rule does not affect individuals who already have their green card and want to renew it, remove conditions on it, or apply for citizenship. It does not apply to those who are not eligible to apply for a green card. The new rule does not apply to U.S. citizen family members of mixed-status families. It does not apply to those who have or are applying for asylum or refugee status, T-Visas, U-Visas, SIJS or VAWA. 

 

Immigrant families with questions about public charge should call the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center at 734-239-6863 for free and confidential information.

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