Open Buffalo Statement on Proposed "Public Charge" RuleBack >
December 10, 2018
In solidarity with the New York Immigration Coalition:
Open Buffalo Statement on the Proposed “Public Charge” Rule
The Trump Administration’s latest attack on our immigrant communities is the proposed expansion of the “Public Charge” test, which would punish immigrants who use public assistance programs to risk losing their legal status or even deportation. If the rule is finalized, many immigrant families will be forced to choose between meeting their basic needs for housing, food, and healthcare and a permanent, secure future in the United States.
Open Buffalo stands firmly opposed to this proposed expansion of the “Public Charge” test, recognizing it as an explicit and systematic attack on low-income, immigrant families and communities of color. As a community-based organization with a mission to create systemic changes leading to an “open” city for all residents of Buffalo, N.Y., Open Buffalo affirms that our measures of justice, equality, and freedom must include the rights of our immigrant neighbors. Therefore, we raise our voices in solidarity to build a massive public opposition to this destructive proposal.
Broadening the “Public Charge” test would disproportionately harm immigrants with fewer means, prioritizing the wealthy for long-term legal status over families who have waited in line for years. The proposed rule change would subject low-income immigrants, immigrants over the age of 65 and those with large families to a higher level of scrutiny when they apply for a visa or green card. If any family member has a record of using public benefits for which they are eligible, like Medicare, Medicaid, nutritional or housing assistance, the government could label them a public charge and deny their application. Further burdening newcomers to our nation with obstacles to legal pathways, this new regulation would jeopardize families who attain permanent residency to build their lives anew without the same benefits that supported generations of immigrants before them.
The Department of Homeland Security should not draft policies that impose devastating choices between health, stability, and security for the most vulnerable members of society, effectively driving people into precarious situations where they are disregarded and criminalized. Rather, our government should focus on policy development that opens pathways to lawful immigration, emphasizing how the well-being of new arrivals contributes to the greater well-being of our country.