U.S. Reps Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez, along with City Council Member Carlos Menchaca yesterday ripped into the Trump Administration‘s proposal that make it harder for legal immigrants to get green cards if they have received certain kinds of public assistance, which include Medicaid, food stamps and housing subsides. Green cards allow immigrants to live and work permanently in the United States.
Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Immigration Working Group, said the proposed public charge rule is the Trump Administration’s latest attack on immigrants of color.
“This rule would particularly affect the large immigrant population in the [Clarke’s] Ninth Congressional District, who have come to the United States from across the world to pursue the American Dream. With each attack on their livelihood, the Administration tears away at that dream,” said Clarke.
“Medicaid, Medicare and other important safety net programs have provided much needed resources to increase the quality of life. Any effort to discourage immigrants from applying for public assistance goes against the ideals of this nation. This proposal is dangerous and has very real consequences for many. The timing of this proposal is also clearly intended to distract from the Administration’s harmful financial and healthcare policies, which are injurious to low and middle-class Americans across the country, just days before a federal election. This proposal is wrong and must be rescinded,” she added.
Clarke also spearheaded a CBC letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, who first floated the proposal. The letter read in part:
“While it has not always lived up to its ideals, the United States strives to reward people based upon the merit of their actions, rather than the circumstances of their birth. However, needlessly expanding the list of public assistance programs subjected to public charge analysis unfairly discriminates against immigrants from Africa, Asia, and South America by discouraging immigrants from these countries from receiving any public assistance. This would leave such immigrants with fewer resources at the outset of their experiences and make it harder for them to achieve the American dream. As a result, this proposed rule would make America less diverse and run afoul of our founding principles.”
Velazquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) said if enacted the proposal would force immigrant families to consider forgoing basic services that keep these communities healthy and safe.
“In a particularly malevolent move, this proposal could put 7.9 million U.S. citizen children with immigrant parents at risk of losing access to services like food stamps, housing assistance and health insurance,” said Velazquez. “While children’s use of benefits may not explicitly be considered, the rule would create a climate of fear and have a chilling effect, dissuading many immigrants and their families.”
Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), who chairs the Council’s Committee on Immigration, said by significantly expanding the list of public benefits that are grounds of denying green cards, this proposed rule forces families to choose between their health and well-being, and being able to live and work legally in the U.S.
“This proposed rule is nothing but a cruel and senseless catch-22 that will detrimentally affect tens of thousands of people living in New York City,” said Menchaca.