Working families across the U.S. rely on safety net programs – if rule were applied to citizens across the country, a substantial portion would be considered likely a ‘public charge’
California is home to over 10 million immigrants and half of all children in the state have an immigrant parent
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra last night led a coalition of five attorneys general in filing a motion for preliminary injunction to block the Trump Administration’s Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule, known as the “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Public Charge Rule,” from taking effect while litigation continues. The Rule targets working immigrants and their families by creating unnecessary new barriers to lawful admission to the United States. Further, the Rule discourages eligible immigrants and their families from accessing critical health, nutrition, and housing programs that supplement their modest incomes and help them make ends meet. This rule jeopardizes the well-being of hardworking families, including women, children, people with disabilities, and seniors.
“This punitive rule is a threat to the fabric of our communities and goes against our California values,” said Attorney General Becerra. “California embraces our immigrant families, and we recognize the important role they play in our state and our economy. We will not stand by as this Administration tries to weaponize the safety net programs that support working families across the nation.”
Public benefit programs are designed to help families make ends meet and ensure strong, healthy families in California. Current guidance by the federal government defines a public charge as a person who is primarily dependent on either public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutional long-term care at the government’s expense. The Rule declares that use of additional government programs including healthcare through Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), nutrition and food support through CalFresh (California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and housing for families through Section 8 housing assistance now constitute grounds for a public charge determination. This rule would cause significant harm to California, which is home to over 10 million immigrants. Half of all children in California have a parent who is an immigrant. The Rule would discourage eligible immigrant and mixed immigration-status families, who are not otherwise subject to the rule, from applying for benefits that they need, and are entitled to. It will make it harder for low and moderate-income immigrants to be admitted into the United States or get green cards.
In today’s motion, Attorney General Becerra argues that California will see serious effects, including:
California’s Public Health, Social Services, Housing, and Educational Programs:
On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule that would significantly change the grounds for excluding immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act. On December 10, 2018, Attorney General Becerra submitted a comment letter, urging the Department of Homeland Security and the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to withdraw the proposed rule. On August 12, 2019, Attorney General Becerra detailed how the Rule will negatively impact California’s public health, social services, housing, educational programs and economy. On August 16, Attorney General Becerra and his coalition filed a lawsuit claiming the Rule will have a chilling effect that will discourage many other immigrants, who are not otherwise subject to the rule, from accessing benefits that they need and are eligible for and entitled to.
A copy of the motion is available here.