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Submit a comment to DHS asking they withdraw a rule that would harm immigrant families

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule on the “public charge” eligibility requirement that the federal government considers when determining whether to admit an immigrant into the United States or allow an immigrant to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident (receive a Green Card). The public charge has always sought to ensure that arriving legal immigrants and nonimmigrants as well as those who adjusted their status were economically self-sufficient and not relying on government resources. For many years, the public charge analysis undertaken by the federal government focused on only use of certain government benefits, such as cash assistance. Through the proposed rule, however, the Administration is seeking to significantly expand the public benefits—and number of immigrants and nonimmigrants—considered in its public charge analysis. Essentially this proposed rule is a wealth test, discounting the contributions of certain immigrants. It will negatively affect many immigrant families – making them face the terrible choice between accessing important health and welfare benefits and facing possible separation from loved ones.

Public comments on the proposed rule are due by December 10, 2018. In response to the proposed rule, USCCB/MRS has submitted a comment in conjunction with USCCB/Office of Domestic and Social Development and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). We urge you to also submit comments to help stand up for impacted families!

Care for the stranger, the hungry, the sick, and the homeless are fundamental to our Catholic faith. The proposed rulemaking would have the effect of undermining access to critical public benefits for certain lawful immigrants and their families thereby damaging their ability to live their lives in dignity. Implementation of this rule would also undermine family unity, family stability, and presents threats to public health and life. We are, deeply concerned with the proposed rule, which we believe would undermine the fundamental life and dignity of persons that we are called to welcome and support. We are judged as a nation not by how we treat the powerful but how we care for the “least of these.” You can read the proposed regulation, or read our backgrounder to learn more about public charge generally. Please see the USCCB-CCUSA comment here.

DHS is accepting comments to the proposed rule until December 10, 2018. We ask that you submit your own unique comment to DHS, asking that the federal government withdraw this deeply concerning rule and maintain its existing public charge analysis.

It is important to send a unique message in order to show DHS the diversity of comments in opposition to the proposed rule.

Here are some talking points that you can modify to customize the comment you wish to submit (We suggest you read through all of the comments and pick at least four.):

  • The proposed rule is inconsistent with my Catholic values of welcoming immigrants, promoting family unity, and valuing human life and dignity.
  • Families are a cornerstone of the Catholic faith. I am deeply concerned that the rule would deny many individuals a lawful means through which to reunify or remain with family in the U.S.
  • The effects of this rule would be felt not only by noncitizens, but also by their U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident family members.
  • DHS proposes to consider the size of the applicant’s family when determining whether that individual is likely to become a public charge.  It is the position of the Church that creating a penalty for caring for children or caring for the elderly is immoral.
  • Fear and confusion over the effects of this rule have already caused families, including those with U.S. citizen children, to withdraw from critical benefits programs for which they are eligible.
  • The proposed rule and its chilling effect on families’ enrollment in benefits programs will also negatively impact the social safety net – requiring churches and other charitable organizations to meet much higher demands for assistance.
  • Rather than aid hardworking families in their quest for self-sufficiency, the proposed rule would result in a number obstacles to improved economic, health, and educational outcomes.

Please submit your comment today!

2018-12-05T10:25:59+00:00Action Alerts|

Migration Chairman Deeply Disappointed by Termination of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador; Calls for Congress to Find a Legislative Solution

January 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — On January 8th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador. TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized humanitarian migration program that permits individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home. The vast majority of TPS recipients in the U.S. are Salvadoran.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), issued the following statement:

“The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador is heartbreaking. As detailed in our recent delegation trip report to the region, El Salvador is currently not in a position to adequately handle the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients. Today’s decision will fragment American families, leaving over 192,000 U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran TPS recipients with uncertain futures. Families will be needlessly separated because of this decision.

We believe that God has called us to care for the foreigner and the marginalized: ‘So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt’ (Deut. 10:19). Our nation must not turn its back on TPS recipients and their families; they too are children of God.

DHS has provided an 18-month period (through September 9, 2019) during which TPS recipients from El Salvador can legally stay in the United States and prepare for their departure. While we recognize and appreciate this extra time, it will not remedy the underlying protection and family unity concerns that remain for Salvadoran TPS recipients.

We renew our call to Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for long-term TPS recipients, and we stand ready to support such efforts. TPS recipients are an integral part of our communities, churches, and nation. Without action by Congress, however, recipients’ lives will be upended and many families will be devastated. As with DACA, we strongly urge Congressional members and leadership to come together and address this issue as soon as possible.

To Salvadoran TPS recipients, we promise to continue to stand in solidarity with you and pray for you and your families, and all those who are displaced or forced to flee from their homes.”