MHP is opposing “public charge” regulation changes proposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that could damage immigrant communities by spreading confusion and prompting families not to seek help with health care, housing, and other needs out of fear.
Under the proposal, if authorities determine an individual is “likely to become a public charge,” they may deny that person’s application for lawful permanent residence or their entry into the U.S. The new proposal would broaden the programs that the federal government would consider in making public charge determinations to include health, nutrition, and housing programs that previously were not considered. The proposed rule could prevent legal immigrants and families with children from accessing public assistance for affordable housing.
In comments submitted to DHS’ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, MHP President Robert Goldman described some of the negative impacts already being observed in communities served by MHP. “For example, our staff has spoken with parents of U.S.-born citizen children who are reluctant to apply for Medicaid for their sons or daughters out of fear that it could lead to their family being separated down the line. Parents are making difficult, if not impossible, choices that could harm their children’s health based on fear. This rule change will negatively impact the health and well-being of untold number of children, as well as that of the broader community.”
He challenged the stereotype that immigrants come to the United States looking for handouts. “Contrary to the myth that public assistance fosters a dependency on government, we have found that our residents who benefit from government programs want to lift themselves out of poverty. The proposed rule change is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the motivations for migration. Immigrants don’t aspire to receive public assistance, they aspire to achieve the American Dream: to get an education and create a better life for themselves and their families through hard work.”
The full text of the comments is available here.