The ‘public charge’ test has been part of the immigration process for decades. It is designed to identify people who may depend on government benefits as their main source of support. Under current law, immigrants can be prevented from obtaining a green card on public charge grounds if they have received, or are likely to receive, public benefits in the form of cash benefits or need long term care. The proposed regulation would make—and has already made—immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs.
The proposal could prevent immigrants from using the programs their tax dollars help support, preventing access to healthy, nutritious food and secure housing. Because one in four American children have at least one immigrant parent, this could impact millions. It would make us a sicker, poorer, and hungrier nation.