Trump Anti-Family Regulation Draws 15,000+ Comments in First Week

October 17, 2018

– National Immigration Law Center: Juan Gastelum (213-375-3149) or Hayley Burgess (202-384-1279), [email protected]
– Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers (202-607-1074), [email protected]

Trump Anti-Family Regulation Draws 15,000+ Comments in First Week

Proposal would deny immigrants for meeting basic needs

WASHINGTON — A Trump administration regulatory proposal to effectively restrict immigration access based on income has drawn more than 15,000 comments since the legally required public comment period opened on October 10. Widely reported by the press, the “public charge” regulation would put people at risk of immigration denials if they use Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicare’s prescription drug assistance program, or other programs. The National Immigration Law Center and the Center for Law and Social Policy are coordinating a campaign to protect millions of immigrant families from this attack.

“This massive response shows that people see the Trump regulation for what it is — reckless, deeply unfair, and inconsistent with core American values,” said Madison Hardee, a senior policy analyst/attorney at the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Experts warn that the plan would worsen hunger, unmet health needs, and other problems by making immigrant families — including families with children — afraid to get the help they need. Comments opposing the regulation validate those concerns.

“I am applying for Green Card. I already dis-enrolled my child from CHIP out of fear since the draft policy floated around early this year. I pray every day nothing bad happens to my child,” wrote one anonymous commenter.

Advocates for economic opportunity and immigrant families charge that the proposal would put wealthy immigrants ahead of families and expand a policy that has been historically abused. Commenters also underscore those concerns.

“This rule is diametrically opposed to our most basic values as a nation and devalues the fact that many of our top doctors, scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs are the children or grandchildren of immigrants who came to the United States with little more than the clothes on their backs and dreams for a better future,” wrote Meredith Owen of Church World Service.

“My husband’s entire family arrived as widows and child refugees from the Holocaust. Many immigrants arrive in similar tragic circumstances in which they need to use the US’s social safety net,” wrote commenter Janet Rosenbaum.

Individuals who have submitted comments to date opposing the regulation include elected officials, physicians, food pantry and other human services agency administrators, and community voices. A week ago, advocates released a joint letter signed by more than 1,500 nonprofits representing a wide range of concerns, from housing to faith, hunger to immigrants’ rights.

Federal law requires that the administration give the public an opportunity to comment on this expansive proposal. Commenters are not required to give their address or divulge their immigration status. Concerned members of the public can learn more and submit comments on the proposal at through December 10, 2018.

Advocates observed that the pace of comments to date could put the public charge regulation on track to surpass the 50,714 comments received on a student visa training options regulation proposed in 2015. That proposal appears to have received the most comments submitted on any regulatory proposal by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“There is still much work to be done and only a few weeks to do it,” said Sonya Schwartz, a senior policy attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “But it’s encouraging to see the American people raising their voices to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-family agenda and take the power back.”