Update December 18, 2018:
Thank you to everyone for getting the word out and submitting comments opposing the proposed public charge rule. It appears to have worked! It is reported that more than 210,000 comments were submitted nationwide. While the comment period has ended, this regulation has not gone into effect. The Department of Homeland Security must review every single unique comment submitted before publishing a final rule.
The Department of Homeland Security has proposed changing how it tests whether a visa or green card applicant is a “public charge.” The proposal will harm public health and the economy in our community and across the nation by discouraging legal immigrants from accepting help for food, housing and health care.
WHAT’S A PUBLIC CHARGE?
CURRENTLY, anyone likely to be primarily dependent on the government is considered a “public charge” and is ineligible for immigration to the US.
THE PROPOSAL expands public charge to include anyone who has used, or is likely to use, additional programs including SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and housing assistance.
The proposal would reduce access to programs for basics we all need to survive. In fact, service providers report that the proposal has already made immigrant families afraid to seek programs that help them stay strong and thrive.
WOULD YOUR FAMILY HAVE PASSED THE TEST?
Under the proposed rule, only immigrants with incomes above 250% of the federal poverty level would qualify for a new visa, a change in visas or a green card. That means, a family of four would need $62,750 per year to pass the test.
One in three US citizens would fail if the proposed financial test was applied to them today. That includes more than 550,000 residents in metro KC. Beth Low-Smith, Director of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, says her great-grandparents, who were immigrant farm workers, would have been too poor to pass the proposed test. Would your family have passed the test?
Read Beth’s story
THE PROPOSED RULE WOULD:
TAKE ACTION TODAY!
We can stop this proposal! Proposals like this one can be withdrawn, modified or delayed, and they frequently are.
Do your part by submitting public comment by Dec 10. It’s basically like writing a letter. Federal law requires that government officials must review all unique (not template-generated) comments submitted before making a decision on a proposed rule change.
Tell the Department of Homeland Security how this rule would spike hunger in our nation and that it should be withdrawn.
Here’s a template to help you get started. Fill in the blanks to make your comment unique:
As a ___ (add description of yourself/or your organization) ___ , I am/we are submitting comment today to oppose the proposed public charge rule.
The proposal will ___ (briefly describe negative impact(s) that concerns you) ___.
The negative consequences for the proposed rule are serious. ___ (share examples of how you/your community/organization will be harmed) ____.
This matters because ____ (offer supporting evidence/data or cite the American value at stake) ____.
The proposed changes to the public charge rule are ____ (sum up your position) ____ and must be rejected.
Send Your Unique Comment
Image: Farmer Beverly Pender sells produce at KCK Farmers Market.