Over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an upcoming proposed policy that threatens to deny green cards or permanent legal residency to immigrants who use public benefits, such as housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — commonly known as “food stamps” — and many more.
According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, more than 1.5 million Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants are in families that use public benefits to feed and sustain their families.
As Sarah Sumadi, a senior manager of the advocacy group OneAmerica, described it, the Trump administration wants to price millions of the American Dream.
Stable housing, health care, and food are immeasurably important to the safety and security of all families, especially young children. Many working-class families rely on government assistance during their most difficult periods, to overcome their greatest challenges and progress to lead healthy and stable lives. We strongly believe that when immigrants and their families can participate fully in society, the whole society benefits.
Further, it is an outright rejection of the American Dream to tell immigrants they are welcome only if they already have wealth, a formal education, and a high-paying job.
“The proposed rules are cruel and lack human decency. The original public charge provision is rooted in the racist actions of politicians from 1882, the same year as the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act,” Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement.
Temporary programs are crucial in keeping children and elders in low-income families healthy and in helping lift families out of poverty. The government should be supporting families and helping them thrive during times of need instead of instilling fear.
Quyen Dinh, executive director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, said, “This is not the America that welcomed my parents as refugees decades ago and showed compassion to many other low-income immigrants that I grew up with.”
Immigrants should not have to choose between living and thriving in this country.
We urge everyone to rally and submit public comments opposing this rule.