Contact Us graphic

  • Toolbar

    Font Size A A A
    Thomas Bill Search
    Search by Keyword
    Search by Bill #
     
     
Print

Cleveland.com: Trump ‘public charge' immigration rule would ‘codify discrimination,' says Rep. Marcia Fudge

Cleveland.com: Trump ‘public charge’ immigration rule would ‘codify discrimination,’ says Rep. Marcia Fudge

Sabrina Eaton | Cleveland.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge says a new Trump administration rule that would deny green cards to legal immigrants if they’re perceived to need public assistance would “codify discrimination."
 
A Department of Homeland Security rule finalized in August would turn away prospective immigrants who it deems likely to rely on government support for a significant period to meet their basic needs. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service says self-sufficiency has “long been a basic principle of immigration law,” and the new rule will guide determinations of whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge.
 
DHS says its decisions will factor in immigrant receipt of benefits including Supplemental Security Income, federally funded Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, public housing assistance, federal state or local cash assistance, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Some categories of immigrants, like refugees, asylees, and some types of trafficking or crime victims wouldn’t be subject to the rule.
 
“Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream," said a statement USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli made when the rule was announced. "Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since. Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success.”
 
Fudge, who chairs the House Agriculture Subcommittee that oversees SNAP benefits, issued a statement on Wednesday calling the new rule " nothing more than the Administration’s attempt to codify discrimination," and said the legal brief brief makes it clear the House of Representatives “will not stand for it.”
 
“The rule allows for discrimination in both its application and enforcement by allowing the Federal government to use racial and ethnic profiling to guess which legal immigrants might eventually need access to public assistance,” Fudge’s statement said. " It’s also important to remember the Administration’s rule targets people who are here in this country legally and, therefore, entitled to apply for assistance, if they need it. This attempt to regulate by stereotype is un-American and a new, shameful low.”
 
The rule’s implementation is on hold after immigrant groups filed legal challenges. A Maryland-based Latino and immigrant group claims the rule would expand "the concept of a ‘public charge’ beyond recognition, making someone who receives little more than $1,500 in food stamps or a few benefits at the same time for less than a year into a ‘public charge.’”
 
Its lawsuit also contends the rule unconstitutionally discriminates against non-white, non-European immigrants and that it was approved in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
 
The organization, CASA, says its members “have stopped accepting or refused to apply for public benefits for themselves and their family members, including their children, because of fear that receiving any benefits will harm their ability to stay in the United States.”
 
"This harms not just these families, who use these benefits to supplement their incomes and support their health, well-being, and stability, but also the broader community,” said the statement from George Escobar, CASA’s chief of programs and services.
 
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives filed a legal brief on Tuesday that argues the laws it passed meant to exclude immigrants who would primarily depend on the government over the long term, not those who might accept benefits that don’t make them “primarily dependent on the government.”
 
It also says the rule would require immigration officers to make predictive judgments about whether noncitizens are likely far in the future to collect small amounts of public benefits for even short periods, giving them “essentially unchecked authority to exclude prospective immigrants, and it would substantially increase the danger of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”
 
"For the first time ever, a noncitizen deemed likely at any point in the future to collect no more than 50 cents of government assistance a day for just over one year—for a total of less than $200 in benefits—would be considered a ‘public charge,’ " the legal brief said. “And for the first time ever, immigration officers are directed to consider a noncitizen’s lack of English proficiency as evidence that he or she is likely to become ‘public charge.’”
 
The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to let it move forward with implementing the rule. Its legal filing argues that stopping it from implementing the rule while legal challenges are underway “would result in effectively irreparable harm to the government," because it will result in allowing admission of aliens who are likely to become public charges.
 
“No practical means exist to reverse those determinations once made,” said the filing from U.S. Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco.