The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) opposes the proposed changes to “public charge” published Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We urge our members and affiliated bar associations to join NAPABA in submitting public comments opposing the proposed policy.
Public charge policy has roots in long-time efforts to limit the admission of ‘undesirable immigrants,’ such as Chinese in the 19th century. The proposed rule would re-define a public charge as an immigrant who would be likely to receive government benefits from an expanded list of programs, including nutrition and housing assistance programs for children. The proposed rule will make it easier to designate an applicant as a public charge, and deny their admission to the United States or reject their permanent resident application. DHS also proposes stricter guidance for weighing certain factors when reviewing visa applications, such as age, income, health, English proficiency, and employability. NAPABA is greatly concerned with how these changes will negatively impact Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants, working families, and children’s health.
The proposal has already had a chilling effect on Asian Pacific American communities. Due to reports of these proposed changes, some immigrant families—including those with eligible U.S. citizen members—have unenrolled from important public services for which they qualify. If implemented, the new public charge rules would undermine the safety, health, and security of immigrant families by denying them the support historically provided to new Americans. Asian Pacific American communities will be particularly hard hit, as over 31% of new green card recipients are from Asian and Pacific Island nations and as there is significant variation in average income amongst Asian ethnic groups.
Take charge by submitting a comment on the proposed rule before the DHS proceeds with its final rulemaking by the deadline, December 10, 2018. NAPABA will be submitting comments as an organization, but individuals are encouraged to submit unique comments here. To see available resources, please click here. For more information, contact Oriene Shin, NAPABA Policy Counsel, at 202-775-9555 or [email protected].