Today, we rejoice! This month, a judge in New York issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which stopped the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” regulation from going into effect on Oct. 15. The public charge rule would have made it more difficult for immigrants on their way to a green card to access benefits for themselves and their families. This is a victory for immigrant families. The legal fight will continue and this may only be a delay, but for now, the rules in the United States have not changed.
Yet, our work is far from over. While our hardworking immigrant families contribute to the vibrancy of our community and economy, there are constant threats of federal policy changes that create an “invisible” wall, making it harder for our immigrant neighbors, friends, and colleagues to live healthy and safe lives. Much of the damage has already been done as immigrant families are fearful and confused about how new policies or the threat of new policies could affect their lives.
As community members, we must ensure that all residents have the factual information they need, so they are not intimidated into disenrolling from programs and services for which they qualify. 70% of people impacted by the proposed public charge rule change are our most vulnerable, our children. If everyone does not have equal access to housing, healthcare and food, existing health disparities will continue to grow, and our entire community will suffer. Many now fear that they will jeopardize their immigration status by accessing children’s health insurance, food assistance, and maternal and infant nutrition programs.
In light of this, the Community Leaders Coalition (CLC) asks that our immigrant community and allies take time to PAUSE and process the incoming changes and updates, learn about the facts and resources and act by asking questions and getting help from experts.
Take time to process the information and updates before reacting. Many agencies and community members are here to support our immigrant families and we will continue to advocate for the rights of immigrant families.
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Know your rights and learn about the proposed Public Charge rule changes. The CLC vetted information about the potential changes to the Public Charge rule, which can be accessed at upvalleyfamilycenters.org/public-charge. Here you will find resources to better understand who and what programs could be affected.
Connect with ‘trusted messengers’ in our community that can help you better understand your particular situation or status. In addition to providing online resources, the CLC members and partners have hosted a series of events throughout the County to provide information and legal consultation for families who may believe they are affected. We urge our allies, and all community members, to continue to stand-up, protect, and advocate for our immigrant families.
Dorothee Stangle, Director, Community Leaders Coalition
Elba Gonzalez-Mares, Chair, Protecting Immigrant Families Subcommittee