Asian American Federation opposes public charge rule

Yesterday, the Trump administration released the new public charge rule, which will force poor immigrant families to make choices between claiming certain public benefits and getting green cards or visas.

The Asian American Federation strongly opposes this decision, which is the administration’s latest attack on the future of our immigrant families and a move to remake the family-based legal immigration system.

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Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S. and in New York City, and make up 16 percent of the city’s total population. In New York City, 70 percent of the Asian community are immigrants, with one in four living in poverty. Additionally, 96 percent of poor Asian children live with at least one immigrant parent. According to the New York City Department of Social Services, the threat of the expansion of the public charge rule has already had a chilling effect on the immigrant community: Asian non-citizens are disenrolling from SNAP benefits at a rate eight times greater than Asian citizen recipients.

Many immigrant families are already struggling to make ends meet and should not have to make the heartbreaking decision of choosing between safety net programs that help them overcome economic challenges in their lives and their ability to walk the path towards citizenship. This assault will have dire and long-lasting effects on the entire immigrant community, all the way from children to seniors. Depriving vulnerable immigrants access to assistance programs does not reflect the values on which this country was built. Our country offers ample opportunity for those coming here to rebuild new lives, and our immigrant families deserve the same benefits that have helped generations of immigrant families succeed.

Despite the public outcry that resulted in over 260,000 comments to the change to the public charge rule, the final rule will go into effect on October 15, 2019 unless it is delayed through litigation. AAF urges recipients of public benefits to NOT disenroll prior to October 15 and instead to seek free legal services provided by New York City to check on their public charge status and receive guidance to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. They can call ActionNYC at 311 or 800-354-0365 and say “public charge” to access City-funded, trusted legal advice.

AAF stands with our elected leaders and member agencies to fight against any plans that deprive vulnerable New Yorkers of the support they need to provide for their families and integrate into the fabric of our diverse city. We will work tirelessly to ensure that our communities receive the information and resources they need to weather this threat and thrive in this country.