The Trump Administration recently published a rule that will make it much more difficult for documented and undocumented immigrants to apply for changes to their legal immigration status. The rule expands the meaning of public charge in a manner that could prevent immigrants from maintaining or obtaining legal immigration status.
Under the current rule, immigrants can be denied status on public charge grounds if they would likely depend on cash assistance or need long-term medical care at the government’s expense. Under the new proposed rule, immigrants could be denied legal status or changes in their legal status if any of their non-citizen dependents use public benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare, or Federal public housing assistance. By depriving families of necessities like food and medical care, the rule prevents families from reaching their full potential and seeks to shut the doors of the United States to all but the affluent.
By increasing the number of people denied legal status, this rule will have the same impact on families as separating them at the border. Many more would be at risk of deportation — tearing families apart by forcing children to choose between staying in the U.S., where they are citizens, or going with their parents to a country they have never known.
Pope Francis reminds us that “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.” As a society, we need to provide our sisters and brothers who have immigrated the opportunities to be full and contributing members of our society.
Join us in telling the Administration that, as Catholics, we demand a system that protects the poor and marginalized and doesn’t actively seek to exclude them. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has opened a 60-day public comment period where members of the public can express their opinion about the published rule. DHS must respond to each comment individually, so take a moment to write a comment expressing your disapproval of the proposed rule. Unique comments carry more weight because they require DHS to take more time to respond to them.