ICOY condemns new ‘public charge’ immigration rule

Publisher: ICOY Staff

Illinois state capitol building

On Wednesday, August 14, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final ‘public charge’ immigration rule. Unless legal action is successful, the rule change will go into effect on October 15, 2019. ICOY submitted comments on December 10, 2018, along with with a record number 200,000+ others. 

The ‘public charge’ rule allows DHS to deny immigrant eligibility if an individual is “likely at any time to become a public charge” where a ‘public charge’ is defined as a person who is primarily dependent on the government for subsidies including food, cash, housing, and health insurance. The change favors wealthy, educated, and English-speaking immigrants. This rule will not apply to all immigrants nor their family members, however, the ‘chilling effect,’ or dis-enrollment out of fear, began when the rule was first proposed and is expected to have a lasting impact. Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center stated that “weaponizing programs that are intended to help people [sends] communities of color one message: You are not welcome here.”  

ICOY condemns the Trump Administration for this rule change. These changes disproportionately harm children, including those who are U.S. citizens, by forcing families to choose between legal status and healthcare and food. We believe that this change will further problems by delaying services, traumatizing children and families, increasing confusion and fear around using public programs, and negatively affecting the diligent work that human service providers have been doing for years.  

ICOY will keep members updated on resources to support immigrant families navigating this rule change. In the meantime, please see the following for more information: 

·        Protecting Immigrant Families Webinar, Friday, August 16 at 2:00 pm CT 

·        IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 

·        National Immigration Law Center