New Rules Would Separate Immigrant Families and Keep Them from Accessing Critical Services

February 8, 2018

Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

Department of Homeland Security Plans New Rules That Would Separate Immigrant Families and Keep Them from Accessing Critical Services

WASHINGTON — Reuters today reported that the Trump administration is considering proposed rules that would further target immigrants seeking critical care and social services, making it even harder for them to attain permanent legal status.

This cruel shift in policy would not only form a barrier for families seeking to reunite with their loved ones, but would also keep them from seeking critical services, such as education, nutrition, and medical assistance. Under current law, lawfully present immigrants are already barred from accessing almost all federal benefits for the first five years they are in the country, and undocumented immigrants face this bar no matter how many years they reside in the US.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The changes the Trump administration is considering would radically reshape our legal immigration system and redefine who is ‘worthy’ of being an American, along with what we look like as a country. If enacted, the draft proposed rule would fundamentally alter our nation’s values toward our immigration system. No longer would we be the country that serves as a beacon for the world’s dreamers and strivers. Instead, America’s doors would be open only to the highest bidder.

“This rule could have the effect of forcing low-income immigrant families — including U.S. citizen children — to make impossible choices between having the resources they need to thrive and reuniting with loved ones. It’s clear that this is nothing more than a backdoor effort to severely limit family immigration, which is part of the White House legislative framework. Those who have entered the U.S. through close family ties are disproportionately people of color, and U.S. citizen children will be among the most harmed by this proposal.

“If we want our communities to thrive, all families must be able to receive the critical care and services they need. All of us — regardless of where we were born or how much money we have — should reject these extremist proposals that are morally reprehensible and fly in the face of our nation’s values and priorities.

“Our nation’s history — and, indeed, most of our own personal histories — are full of stories of immigrants who came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a dream of a better future in the United States. These immigrants were able to have the tools they needed to succeed. Today’s low-income immigrant families are tomorrow’s teachers, nurses, and even a future president.”