PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney and Miriam Enriquez, Director for Office of Immigrant Affairs, have released the following statements regarding the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the public charge rule:
Statement from Mayor Jim Kenney:
“Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths as a city and a nation. Philadelphia welcomes and celebrates immigrants as vital members of our community. But once again, the Trump Administration is unjustly targeting immigrants.
“Make no mistake about it, the Administration’s main goal in making such a change is to discourage immigration, destabilize families by denying green cards to parents of U.S. citizen children, and create fear and confusion that could cause hard-working immigrant families to avoid accessing health care, housing and food assistance, putting the well-being of millions at risk. It would make immigration a pay-to-play game where only the wealthy get green cards and those who have waited for years to reunite with their families would be turned away.
“This policy is an extension of the Administration’s larger effort to tear immigrant families apart. We must work together to fight back. We have already seen how when united, we can make a difference, like when we demanded an end to Trump’s family separation policy. I encourage all Philadelphians to speak up for our immigrant communities and submit comment on the rule to tell the government why public charge policies should not be changed.”
Statement from Miriam Enriquez, Director for Office of Immigrant Affairs:
“This regulation would make using public benefits like SNAP, non-emergency federal Medical Assistance, and affordable housing programs a disqualifier for immigration benefits like a green card.
“While this rule change will not affect all immigrants because there are some exceptions, it will affect certain individuals applying for admission to the United States from abroad; this includes family members of U.S. citizens who are immigrating to the U.S. on a petition filed by the family member.
“The rule will also apply to those who are already in the U.S. and are applying to adjust their status to legal permanent resident. For instance, an individual who has Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and is now married to a U.S. citizen, will be subject to the public charge determination when they apply to adjust their status to legal permanent resident.
“There will certainly be a chilling effect of such a rule change. Even immigrants not subject to the public charge test may be deterred from accessing necessary programs that help them and their families access health care, food and other essential needs. Immigrants and their children, many who are U.S. citizen children, are likely to forgo the benefits and assistance they are eligible for due to fear, confusion or an abundance of caution. This would mean many immigrants would be giving up benefits they require for them and their children to have healthy lives.
“Let your voice be heard by submitting a comment to the Federal Government and let them know that changing the public charge rule would be detrimental to our nation and the city of Philadelphia. There is a 60 day period to submit comments and oppose this change, which ends on December 9, 2018.”
Information on how Philadelphians can submit comment and who will be most affected can be found in the City’s Public Charge Action Guide.