(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Contradicting years of federal policy, the Trump Administration today made final a rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2018 that would make it difficult for many legal immigrants to come to the United States or receive green cards if they have used benefits such as Medicaid, housing assistance, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among others. Experts warn this change could cause individuals to disenroll from public benefits for fear of losing their opportunity to get a green card, leading to worse health and poverty outcomes for millions of children and families. It could also make it more difficult for families to be reunited with loved ones in the United States.

On June 12, 2019, Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) in introducing HR 3222, the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, which would prevent any federal funds from being used to implement the proposed rule. Rep. Chu, who introduced the bill along with 36 additional Members of the House, issued the following statement:

“From separating families to using ICE raids to intentionally intimidate and frighten immigrants here or looking to come here, the Trump Administration’s approach to immigration has been cruelty. The effect is never to actually improve our immigration system, only to increase xenophobia and bigotry. That is the case with this new ‘public charge’ rule. This rule will not fix a single problem that Donald Trump has claimed to be concerned with. What it will do, though, is frighten immigrants already here and contributing from accessing the benefits they are legally entitled to – benefits that are proven successful at helping millions stay out of poverty and put their children on a path to a better future. That is a path that Trump is now cutting off for immigrants. Immigrants fearing that accessing the benefits they have earned and paid for will cost them a green card or prevent their loved ones from being able to join them, will mean more parents refusing the SNAP benefits they need to help feed their children, or refusing to access medical care. The result is more hunger and more sickness, all so Trump can add a new bigoted line to his campaign speeches.

“Immigrants make America strong. They work, pay taxes, shop in our communities, and contribute to our economic growth. We are better off because of the entrepreneurism, hard work, and diversity that immigrants bring to our economy. Look no further than California, which is majority-minority and thriving. This rule is bad for the economy and bad for our communities. It is motivated completely by racial animus and has no place in our politics. I am urging leaders in the House and Senate to quickly vote on my bill, HR. 3222, to block any federal money from being used to implement this hateful and harmful rule.”