Home > Mayor William Peduto Announces Opposition to Proposed Rule Impacting Immigrant Families

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Mayor William Peduto Announces Opposition to Proposed Rule Impacting Immigrant Families

 (April 19, 2018) Mayor William Peduto has joined efforts to oppose a Trump Administration proposal that would cut assistance to immigrant families. 

The Mayor issued a letter last week to the Administration regarding its proposed expansion of the public charge rule NPRM (RIN 1615-AA22). The rule, which has not been passed yet can have a profound effect on immigrant families. 

The National Immigration Law Center wrote in their Public Charge fact sheet: 

“The Trump administration is opening a new front in its assault on family-based immigration by making it harder for immigrants who might use essential public services to come to the United States and settle here permanently. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has informed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it plans to propose regulations that discard longstanding policy about the meaning and application of the “public charge” provisions of immigration law.” 

What is “Public Charge”?  

The current definition of a “Public Charge” is any individual who is mainly reliant on government assistance. The current policy considers those who utilize cash assistance to help subsidize their income, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANFI) program as a public charge.  

What is the current policy?  

If authorities determine that an individual is likely to become a “public charge,” that individual can be denied lawful permanent resident (LPR) or entry into the U.S. Under the current policy, individuals or families that use Medicaid, CHIP, or other non-cash benefits were not considered in public charge determinations. 

What are the proposed changes? 

The proposed changes would consider whether individuals or their dependents have received or sought after any public service, such as CHIP, SNAP, WIC, Section 8 housing vouchers, etc. The federal government will not consider emergency disaster relief and school lunch programs in public charge determinations. 

Who would be affected? 

It will generally affect noncitizens who are applying for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR-Green Card) status through family-based visa petitions. Some immigrants such as asylees and refugees are exempted from the public charge determinations law. Those who have a Green Card and are applying for citizenship are also exempted from the public charge determinations law. 

What are the risks? 

If classified as a public charge, a non U.S. citizen can become ineligible for citizenship or permanent residency in the United States. In addition, the public charge determinations law can lead to decreased participation in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other programs among legal immigrant families, including their citizen children. (See news link below.) 

How can I help? 

Speak to your state and local legislators/policy makers about the economic impacts of immigrants and their contributions to the state and the local level. Inform community members that might be affected by the law change if its passes. 

Mayor Peduto has formally requested a meeting with the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before this rule change is published to discuss the economic significance of these changes to our City. OMB is legally required to accept these meetings.  

The letter sent to OMB read: 

Dear Mr. Theroux, 

As Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, I am working each day to push forward policies that support all of our residents and foster growth for our region. Like many post-industrial American cities, in order for us to continue on a positive trajectory forward, we must build communities where all are welcome and supported. It is with these goals in mind that I write to request a meeting with you to discuss the public charge NPRM (RIN 1615-AA22) currently under your review. 

The proposed rule creates a significant economic hardship that will directly impact local and state governments -- cities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the country. We know that the agency views this NPRM as one that is not economically significant. The reality, however, is that policy changes that affect who is considered a public charge will cause financial difficulty on the state and local agencies that administer the programs that would now be taken into account.  

If additional programs are included as factors in a public charge determination, these changes will impede participation by many in our communities, including eligible U.S. citizen children, and we expect families will opt out of these program. Moreover, the result in our communities will be detrimental including an uptick in hunger and uncompensated care and financially burden on our schools, child welfare agencies, public health systems, and hospitals. 

On the legal side, this proposal is a grave affront to the U.S. constitutional rights of U.S. citizen children of immigrants. US citizen children may be deprived of these benefits because their parents would be subject to deportation or denial of an immigration benefit by taking advantage of them.  Not only does that raise hardship and policy considerations, it raises US Constitutional equal protection concerns. To put forth a proposed rule that attaches penalties to immigrant parents who apply for public benefits for their US citizen children is an attempted attack on the American family unit through alienage. Time and time again, this type of disparate treatment where the direct negative effect is to treat a subcategory of US Citizens differently has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Citizen children of immigrants would certainly bear th is negat ive disparate impact if their immigrant parents are penalized per this proposed rule, if they apply for public benefits for their US citizen children. 

In advance of the publication of this rule, I hope to speak with you or a designee to further discuss its impact. 

Thank you in advance for your attention and response to this meeting request. 

  

Sincerely, 
  
William Peduto, Mayor 

City of Pittsburgh 

  

To find out more details regarding “Public Charge” please visit the links below. Both links were referenced in the press release. 

https://www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Public-Charge-Fact-Sheet-2018.pdf 

https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/fact-sheet/proposed-changes-to-public-charge-policies-for-immigrants-implications-for-health-coverage/ 

 

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