What you need to know about the ‘public charge’ rule
Note: This is an update of a campaign page we created in the fall of 2018 to gather public comments against this rule change. On Aug. 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published its final version of the rule, which is to go into effect on Oct. 15, 2019. Legal advocates plan to challenge the new rule in federal court; at the same time, the Protecting Immigrant Families partners in Massachusetts will be working to educate immigrants, advocates, service providers and the public about the implications of the new rule.
Emma Lazarus’ poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty invites the world to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” For centuries, people have come with little or nothing, and built new lives and new fortunes here. It’s the American Dream.
But now the Trump administration wants to slam the door on working-class immigrants by subjecting anyone who earns less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of 4) to intense scrutiny, and effectively excluding anyone below 125% of FPL ($32,188 for a family of 4).
Immigrants applying for a green card or visa could be deemed to be a “public charge” – someone who depends on the government – and turned away if they earn below 250% of FPL and use any of a wide range of public programs for working families, or are deemed to be likely to use them in the future due to their income, age, health status, credit score and other factors.
New ‘public charge’ rule would shut out working-class immigrants and harm millions of families
The rule, which goes into effect Oct. 15, would deny green cards or immigrant visas to anyone deemed 'more likely than not' to use one of several safety-net programs someday, unless they earn over 150% of the federal poverty line.
BOSTON – The Trump administration on Wednesday will publish a new rule that would curtail legal immigration by vastly expanding who can be denied a green card or visa because they are deemed at risk of becoming a “public charge.”
The rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 15, would redefine “public charge” – a person who depends on government benefits and thus may be turned away – to include not only immigrants who receive cash benefits or need long-term care, but also people with disabilities, those deemed to have limited earning potential, and participants in many “safety net” programs used by millions of working Americans. Overall, it would make it much easier to shut out anyone earning less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of four).
“This rule is a perfect example of the wanton cruelty and bigotry that drive this administration,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “It accomplishes two hateful goals at once: to keep out immigrants who are not wealthy on arrival – mainly people of color – and to sow fear in immigrant families and deter them from accessing ‘safety net’ programs that help keep their children safe, healthy, nourished and learning.”
Mass. takes key step towards making the most of immigrant medical talent
State’s FY2020 budget creates commission to address barriers to practice for foreign-trained health professionals, deploy them in high-need areas.
Dr. Skarlleth Cuevas, a Costa Rican immigrant, got this tattoo to remind herself that whatever job she’s doing now, she’s still a physician.
BOSTON, Aug. 1, 2019 – A new commission created in the FY2020 state budget that Governor Baker signed this week will help address our Commonwealth’s critical shortages of medical providers by identifying best practices to license and deploy foreign-trained health professionals.
Massachusetts has some of the best medical facilities in the world, but it also fails woefully to meet many people’s basic needs. Over 7% of state residents lack adequate access to primary care, dental care, or mental health services, including more than 500,000 low-income people in Greater Boston, Western, Central and Southeastern Massachusetts.
Yet we also have a lot of untapped talent: more than 8,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, mental health providers and other medical professionals who were educated abroad – over 20% of whom are jobless or underemployed because they’ve had difficulties getting licensed in the U.S.
An “outside section“ in the FY2020 budget directly addresses this issue by establishing a 23-member commission that will bring together all the key stakeholders – state agencies, hospital and health center leaders, professional organizations, educators, and affected clinicians – to tackle barriers to licensure, with the express goal of deploying these providers in underserved, high-need areas.
“This is exciting news for highly skilled immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “We are fortunate to attract highly accomplished people from all over the world, and we should do everything we can to enable them to thrive here. When we make the most of the talent in our communities, our entire Commonwealth benefits.”
Now more than ever: Support the Safe Communities Act!
Two years ago, we launched a movement: immigrant advocates, civil rights groups, service providers, faith leaders and allies committed to ensuring that in Massachusetts, no one has to live in fear, and everyone’s civil rights will be respected. We built unprecedented support on Beacon Hill and across our Commonwealth. Dozens of communities also adopted local pro-immigrant policies.
Now it’s time to bring our work to fruition. A new Safe Communities Act is before the Legislature: S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda). It’s streamlined but has the same core provisions to restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters, and protect due process for all.
We need to keep building political momentum to ensure that the SCA passes in this session. That means legislators need to keep hearing from constituents, week after week, until we succeed.
Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!
Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.