Public Charge Rule Will Have Chilling Effect on Immigrant Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration will publish its final “public charge” rule Wednesday. The rule will reduce legal immigration, and evidence of a chilling effect from the initial proposal already has emerged.

The rule would redefine the meaning of the legal term “public charge” to enable the rejection of immigrants applying for an immigrant visa (green card) or a temporary visa if they have accessed or are deemed likely to rely on certain forms of public assistance — services they can access legally.

The proposed rule, summarized here, has already impacted immigrant families who are eligible for public assistance, according to recent studies.

“This rule will dramatically change the lives of immigrants and the course of immigration to the U.S.,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “If implemented, the rule will grant immigration officers the authority to punish immigrants for accessing services legally. These are programs and services that help us all get through a rough patch in life.

“These are not communities who are here to game the system. These are immigrants who are pursuing the American dream, working to ensure their families and their communities can live to their fullest potential. The chilling effect of this rule will undermine the health and well-being of families that include U.S. citizens.”

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