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.
CALL TO ACTION
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!
Please participate in the Call-In Day to Congress on Monday, February 26, 2018!
Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6th, unless Congress reaches a bipartisan deal to protect them. Please follow these easy steps:
The fate of nearly 1.8 million Dreamers remains uncertain as Congress has yet to reach a bipartisan deal to protect these youth. On January 22nd, Congress passed a short-term spending bill that will fund the government through February 8th, ending the government shutdown. The bill did not include protections for Dreamers, however, parties have agreed to continue negotiations and work towards a fix.
Unfortunately, every day that passes without a solution is a day where DACA youth fall out of status and lose their ability to go to school, serve in the military, and work legally.
Today, more than 65 million people are forcibly displaced around the world, and more than 22 million are refugees. These are historically high levels. The 600,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh are the latest mass movement of refugees needing help. The United States is the cornerstone of the international humanitarian system. We must maintain our leadership and protect life-saving U.S. humanitarian assistance. Attending to inequality and the lack of access to basic needs, and other root causes, can help prevent future conflict and forced displacement, while promoting human dignity and building thriving and stable communities.
As a person of faith, and a member of the Justice for Immigrants coalition, I ask you to urge the Administration to provide an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. Additionally, I ask you to support a legislative solution in Congress that will preserve the ability of TPS recipients to continue living and working legally in the U.S.
TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows 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. While the current designation for Haiti is set to expire in January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend TPS for Haiti by November 23, 2017.
As a person of faith, and a member of Justice for Immigrants coalition, I ask that you urge the Administration to provide an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Additionally, I ask you to support a legislative solution in Congress that will preserve the ability of TPS recipients to continue living and working legally in the U.S. if they have lived here lawfully for many years, would face extreme hardship if deported, or are otherwise eligible for permanent residence.
Family unity is an issue of great importance to me and the larger Catholic community. If TPS is terminated, numerous families will be torn apart. The Catholic Church ministers to and serves many of these families around the country. We know that this issue affects immigrant children and U.S. citizen children alike. In fact, if TPS is terminated, approximately 270,000 U.S. citizen children will face being separated from their families. If children choose to remain with their parents and leave the U.S., they will jeopardize their bright future in the only country they know.
Pope Francis has called on us to pray and provide support for our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees through the historic campaign, Share the Journey. Follow his call by speaking out on behalf of young people in our communities who are facing an uncertain future because of the Administration’s recent decision to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Currently, there are approximately 800,000 young people who are face the loss of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, which include work authorization and protection from deportation. DACA youth and the larger DREAMer community need legislative protection from Congress to ensure that they are not deported from the only home they have ever known. This week, your members of Congress need to hear from you that you care about DREAMers. Send a message to your members of Congress now urging passage of the DREAM Act quickly so as not to uproot the lives of so many young people who’ve made enormous contributions to our communities and our economy.