A victory for American values on ‘public charge’ – but the fight continues
BOSTON, October 11, 2019 – Today U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration's “public charge” rule, preventing the rule from taking effect as scheduled on Oct. 15.
The rule would define any immigrant who uses certain health, nutrition or housing programs as a “public charge,” and enables federal officials to turn away green card and visa applicants preemptively if they’re deemed likely to use such programs in the future.
The case in which Judge Daniels ruled today is one of several lawsuits that have been filed to block the policy, which would effectively shut out working-class immigrants and decimate family-based migration.
“We’ve said from the start that this rule is not only morally abhorrent, but also unlawful,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (MIRA). “Today’s decision is a victory for American values, and a breath of fresh air for thousands of Massachusetts families whose ability to sponsor loved ones had been in jeopardy.”
Amid a global displacement crisis, we must stand up for refugees
Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo leave a transit camp in Uganda for an eight-hour journey to another refugee settlement. DFID/Flickr.
BOSTON, September 27, 2019 – The Trump administration has set a cap of 18,000 for refugee admissions in the fiscal year that begins next Tuesday. This is a record low for the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program – and less than one-fifth the average over the program’s four-decade history.
As of Sept. 20, more than 29,800 refugees had been admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019. Since trying and failing to ban refugees early in 2017, the Trump administration has rapidly reduced the cap from the 110,000 level set by former President Obama in his last year: first to 45,000, then to 30,000. In a move that is likely to further hinder resettlements, the White House also issued an executive order yesterday that requires state and local governments to consent to receiving most refugees.
As New England’s largest coalition advocating for immigrants and refugees, with multiple members working directly in refugee resettlement and integration support, MIRA strongly condemns this administration’s repeated assaults on the world’s most vulnerable people.
New ‘public charge’ rule would shut out working-class immigrants and harm millions of families
The rule, which goes into effect Oct. 15, would deny green cards or immigrant visas to anyone deemed 'more likely than not' to use one of several safety-net programs someday, unless they earn over 150% of the federal poverty line.
BOSTON – The Trump administration on Wednesday will publish a new rule that would curtail legal immigration by vastly expanding who can be denied a green card or visa because they are deemed at risk of becoming a “public charge.”
The rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 15, would redefine “public charge” – a person who depends on government benefits and thus may be turned away – to include not only immigrants who receive cash benefits or need long-term care, but also people with disabilities, those deemed to have limited earning potential, and participants in many “safety net” programs used by millions of working Americans. Overall, it would make it much easier to shut out anyone earning less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of four).
“This rule is a perfect example of the wanton cruelty and bigotry that drive this administration,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “It accomplishes two hateful goals at once: to keep out immigrants who are not wealthy on arrival – mainly people of color – and to sow fear in immigrant families and deter them from accessing ‘safety net’ programs that help keep their children safe, healthy, nourished and learning.”
Now more than ever: Support the Safe Communities Act!
Two years ago, we launched a movement: immigrant advocates, civil rights groups, service providers, faith leaders and allies committed to ensuring that in Massachusetts, no one has to live in fear, and everyone’s civil rights will be respected. We built unprecedented support on Beacon Hill and across our Commonwealth. Dozens of communities also adopted local pro-immigrant policies.
Now it’s time to bring our work to fruition. A new Safe Communities Act is before the Legislature: S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda). It’s streamlined but has the same core provisions to restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters, and protect due process for all.
We need to keep building political momentum to ensure that the SCA passes in this session. That means legislators need to keep hearing from constituents, week after week, until we succeed.
What you need to know about the ‘public charge’ rule
UPDATE Oct. 15, 2019: Five federal courts have blocked implementation of the public charge rule, which was set to go into effect on Oct. 15, 2019. Until further notice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will thus continue to apply the previous, much-narrower definition of “public charge.” Anyone applying for a green card within the U.S. can still do so without being affected by the new rule. However, the State Department is already applying a similar standard to applications filed abroad, and is updating its guidance to match the DHS criteria. We will continue to update this page as lawsuits move through the courts and policies evolve.
Emma Lazarus’ poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty invites the world to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” For centuries, people have come with little or nothing, and built new lives and new fortunes here. It’s the American Dream.
But now the Trump administration wants to slam the door on working-class immigrants by subjecting anyone who earns less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of 4) to intense scrutiny, and effectively excluding anyone below 125% of FPL ($32,188 for a family of 4).
Immigrants applying for a green card or visa could be deemed to be a “public charge” – someone who depends on the government – and turned away if they earn below 250% of FPL and use any of a wide range of public programs for working families, or are deemed to be likely to use them in the future due to their income, age, health status, credit score and other factors.
Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!
Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.