Immigrant Advocates Support Hirono Bill Blocking “Public Charge” Regulations

September 17, 2019

Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-384-1279

Immigrant Advocates Support Hirono Bill Blocking “Public Charge” Regulations

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) has introduced the Protect American Values Act, legislation that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulations.

The legislation was cosponsored by 26 Senate Democrats: Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Published by the administration on August 14, 2019, the public charge regulations would vastly expand the number of people who may be deemed ineligible for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) or admission to the U.S. based on their household income, use of certain essential government programs, and other criteria. Independent estimates show the regulations threaten nearly 26 million people, half of whom were born in the U.S. Experts expect the policy will result in large-scale increases in poverty, hunger, and unmet housing needs. The National Immigration Law Center and allies have sued the Trump administration to block implementation of the regulations, which will otherwise take effect on October 15, 2019.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement on the legislation’s introduction:

“We applaud Senator Hirono for taking leadership in protecting millions of immigrant families from Trump’s brutal public charge attack. Trump is building an invisible wall to send families of color one message: If you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome here. And he’ll separate families and destroy communities to send that message.

“Members of Congress in both chambers and from both parties have spoken out against the public charge rule, which fundamentally changes our legal immigration system and is an end-run around Congress. Senators who are serious about protecting families and communities from this threat, the time to act is now: Cosponsor the Protect American Values Act today. Our country’s health and future is at stake.”