Catalina Cruz Calls Out “Discriminatory” New Rule Against Immigrant Rights

Catalina Cruz. Photo by Brandon Jordan

Assemblywoman-Elect Catalina Cruz (D-Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), a Colombian-born former DREAMer who won the 2018 general midterm election for New York State Assembly District 39, is personally calling out the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for its discriminatory treatment on immigrants and is urging her followers to sign a petition.

Having been an undocumented immigrant herself, Cruz took to Twitter to issue her denouncement a rule change that would expand the federal government’s definition of public charges, a term in immigration law to describe an individual who cannot support oneself and those who are reliant on governmental aid.

Assemblywoman-elect Catalina Cruz.

Under the change, DHS and the Trump Administration, would possibly deny immigrants permanent alien residency, also known as green cards, if they get such social services programs as SNAP (food stamps), as well as government housing and medical programs.

“I write to unequivocally denounce the new ‘public charge’ regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” Cruz said. “We must be honest about what [the proposed rule] truly is – an intentional penalty fueled by ethnic and proposed rule animus.”

Queens County Politics has reached out to the DHS for comment.

Cruz followed up her tweeted letter with a new tweet instructing her followers to go on Protect Immigrant Families, an organization dedicated on “Stop[ping] Trump’s Cruel Attack on Immigrant Families,” and to sign a petition to voice individualized complaints of the new rule.

“All American families will, at times, face economic hardship. As a country, we recognize that periods of financial need do not diminish a family’s ability to provide a positive and meaningful contribution to their communities,” Cruz said.

This is not the first time Cruz took a stance against the new “public charge.”

On November 20 at PS 69 in Jackson Heights, she joined Councilmen Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca‘s event to discuss the “new threat to immigrant families.”

The proposed changes, according to the councilmen, could deny green card and visas services to undocumented immigrants who are currently in social safety programs, and if these were to be activated, an estimate of 475,000 New Yorkers could be affected by the decision.

“One thing we know from history is that uncertainty produces fear, and fear is what robs people of their agency. The solution is to dispel rumors through education and remind people of their own power,” Menchaca said. “These town halls are a vehicle for that education and empowerment. People need to know that the public charge rule is just a proposal. It is not final. You still can and should seek public benefits if you are eligible.”

“And you can challenge this rule by leaving a public comment on,” Menchaca said.

More from Around New York