Local Electeds Decry Court Decision Favoring Trump Pubic Charge Change


City, federal and state officials yesterday and today decried the U. S. Supreme Court decision yesterday allowing the Trump administration to move forward with plans to deny green cards to immigrants who are thought to be likely to make even occasional and minor use of public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

President Donald Trump
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In a 5 to 4 decision the nation’s top court lifted preliminary injunctions from the lower federal courts to block the Trump Administration changes announced in August to the so-called public charge rule. The changes allow officials to deny permanent legal status, also known as green cards, to immigrants who are likely to need public assistance. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision allowing the Trump administration to begin implementing its discriminatory public charge rule is deeply disturbing and will only further embolden the federal government’s relentless assault on immigrants throughout the country,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“In New York, we will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our immigrant neighbors and community members, offering support and continuing to fight the Trump administration’s assaults at every turn. We will ensure that New York remains a beacon of hope and acceptance for all,” Cuomo added.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardenssaid as a product of the hopes and dreams of an immigrant family, she was outraged by the Supreme Court’s decision to implement the public charge rule.

“Historically, the United States has served as a place of refuge for individuals around the world seeking to fulfill the American Dream. Immigrants are our neighbors, our friends, leaders in our communities and even our Members of Congress. It is disturbing to witness a global leader toying with people’s lives and we must not stop fighting until Donald Trump is removed from office,” said Clarke.

 “Lives are at stake and actions have consequences. Donald Trump will go down in history as a corrupt and senseless leader who has put millions of lives in danger as each day passes. Here in Brooklyn, we don’t give up and I will never stop fighting to ensure that the families who look just like mine are protected and uplifted. We won’t give up until we right this wrong,” she added.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city cannot stand by while immigrant New Yorkers are treated as less than human in expecting to weigh putting food on the table against the need for a Green Card. 

“The Trump Administration wants to scare us into silence, but this is New York City. We are still in court and we will not stop fighting for the rights of immigrants to feed their families,” said de Blasio.

Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affair’s Commissioner Bitta Mostofi noted it’s important to know that eligibility for public benefits has not changed and many immigrants are not affected by public charge. 

“It is also important to know that the case is still being fought in court.  Don’t stop using public benefits unnecessarily. If you are worried or have questions about immigration and public benefits for you or your loved ones, you can call the free, confidential ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365, or call 311 and say ‘Public Charge’ to access timely and trusted information and connections to legal help. The City is here to help you make a decision that is best for you and your family,” said Mostofi.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (d-unset Park, Red Hook), chair of the council’s Committee on Immigration, called the Supreme Court’s decision terrible adding another chilling layer of fear that vulnerable immigrants will feel throughout the country. 

“In New York City, since this rule was first proposed, we heard countless stories of immigrants who withdrew from or refused to apply for critical nutritional or health benefits that they were legally entitled to. What the Supreme Court allowed is nothing more than a racist wealth test that runs contrary to the American Dream and American values. The legal fight is not over. We will continue the fight in the courts and to keep reminding our immigrant neighbors of their rights to ensure that we reverse the harm this administration is causing. 

Assemblymember Feliz Ortiz (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) said the U.S. Supreme Court made a big mistake by temporarily ending the nationwide ban preventing the Trump administration from implementing the “public charge rule,” requiring immigrants, including U.S. citizen children — to make difficult choices between food and family. 

“This rule goes against this nation’s commitment to caring for the poor by making it difficult for immigrant families — especially families of color and low-income families — to remain in the United States and utilize programs benefitting their nutrition, health, housing, and economic security. The Trump Administration is mean-hearted to take food from families trying to make ends meet. We must fight back against these draconian policies that create a chilling effect in our immigrant communities,” said Ortiz.

If you or a loved one have questions about the public charge rule and how it might affect you, please reach out to ActionNYC to speak to receive free, safe, and confidential immigration legal help. You can call 1-800-354-0365 between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday or call 311 and say ‘ActionNYC.’ 

More from Around New York