Letters and Correspondences

Comments on Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

Children of Immigrants

First Focus on Children co-led the following comment to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on public charge. 84 organizations joined First focus in offering appreciation for the Biden Administration’s “first step” in rectifying the harm to children in immigrant families created by the previous public charge rule.

Excerpt from the Comment:

Even prior to being finalized, the 2018 public charge proposed rule created a significant chilling effect for immigrant families with a direct impact on millions of children. Many families misunderstood how the new regulation affected them, including confusion about which programs were included in the new rule and whether a child’s or other family member’s use of benefits would have public charge consequences. Combined with a series of other anti-immigrant policies, families became increasingly afraid to access basic needs, such as health care and nutrition assistance, for even their U.S. citizen children. A national study found that of adults in immigrant families surveyed in December 2019, approximately 48 percent avoided SNAP, 45 percent avoided Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and 35 percent avoided housing subsidies for fear of risking green card status. Many immigrant parents also became fearful and reluctant to bring their children to school or child care. Even despite additional hardship brought on by the COVID pandemic, research shows that 1 in 4 adults in immigrant families reported they or a family member avoided non-cash benefits or other assistance to meet their basic needs because of public charge or other immigration concerns. Even now that DHS has withdrawn the 2019 final rule, we continue to hear that concerns about 2 immigration consequences frequently prevent immigrant parents from accessing benefits for their children.

Read the full letter here.

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