On December 10th, 2018, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), responded to the Department of Homeland Security’s request for public comments regarding its new potential administrative rule change,“Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” ADC would like to thank Duane Morris LLP for providing its pro-bono legal services in drafting the written response.
The discriminatory rule expands the definition of a “public charge” and would deny immigrants green cards and visas based on unsubstantiated assumptions that they will become public charges in need of public benefits. It is unconscionable that the new definition of public charge aims to target some of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S. simply because of their social and economic status.
This unprecedented expansion of public charge now includes any individual who is likely to use more than a minimal amount of public assistance and expands the types of benefits that could be considered in the public charge determination to include programs that support basic human needs, including Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For almost two decades, immigrant families have relied upon U.S. immigration officials’ explicit reassurance that participation in programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly food stamps) would not affect their ability to become lawful permanent residents.
The expansion of the definition contradicts the values and principles that this country claims to uphold, that all individuals are created equal under the law. ADC cautions that the new definition severely threatens social stability for hundreds of thousands of families and individuals. The decision to expand the interpretation of public charge coincides with the current U.S. administration’s long line of policies and executive orders that target and undermine the human rights of immigrant communities in the U.S.
ADC takes serious note of the inhuman approach to Trump’s immigration policies and calls for the implementation of immigration policies that respect and guarantee the rights of all individuals. Furthermore, ADC firmly rejects cruel and discriminatory immigration policies intended to strike fear into immigrant communities.