Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Opposes Public Charge Rule Change that Will Harm Immigrant Communities

November 28, 2018

On October 15th, Massachusetts advocacy organizations including the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), Health Law Advocates, and Health Care For All rallied together with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, City Council President Andrea Campbell and City Councilor Josh Zakim to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed change to the “public charge” provisions for immigrant communities.  The administration rolled out the regulation change in mid-October, which means that we are still within the 60 day comment period and members of the public still have time to express their opposition to the proposed rule change.

The administration’s draft regulation, announced in late September, would penalize legal immigrants applying for green cards if they use public programs that help working-class families access health care, housing services, and food stamps. This proposal would therefore force families to make life-and-death decisions between seeking care, shelter and food at the risk of losing their legal status and being deported by the Trump Administration.

At the October rally, MLRI’s executive director, Georgia Katsoulomitis, summarized why the rule change is antithetical to the values of Massachusetts residents and how it will harm the community. “We all know what this is: It is a reprehensible attempt by the Trump Administration to use access to health care, food, and other critical human needs to further an anti-immigrant political agenda,” said Katsoulomitis.

Over the next few weeks, the public is free to submit their comments to the federal government with regards to the proposal, which the Department of Homeland Security must take into consideration when weighing the ability to institute the regulation.  MLRI along with its partners have created a portal for comment submission for anyone interested in registering their objection to this rule change.

“The proposed new rule would punish immigrants seeking permanent residence in the U.S for accessing assistance for basic human needs. It would unfairly deny green cards based on family relationships if the immigrant received a benefit or couldn’t meet a radical new income test.  Denying access to basic needs, or forcing a family to choose between getting health care or getting a green card, is unconscionable. This is not what great nations do,” said Katsoulomitis.



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