Press Release

AALDEF denounces White House plan to redefine "public charge" for immigrants seeking green cards

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) condemns the recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a proposed “public charge” rule that could deny permanent resident status (“green cards”) to immigrants who use such government services as nutrition programs and housing assistance. The new rule would consider age, health, and employability as factors by immigration and consular officers in deciding whether to grant green card status. AALDEF, together with hundreds of immigrant and civil rights, public health, and labor organizations, is denouncing the proposed changes, which threaten working families and children’s health.

With rumors of the proposed rule circulating among immigrant communities for months, many Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families have already opted to forego essential services for which they qualify. If implemented, the public charge regulation would undermine the safety, health, and well-being of immigrant families, as well as their U.S. citizen family members. As more than 31% of new green card holders are from Asian and Pacific Island countries, the rule would have a disproportionately adverse impact on AAPI communities.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF Executive Director, said: “This latest policy is part of the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to attack and instill fear in immigrant communities of color. We call on Congress to pass immigration legislation that maintains the principle of family reunification and facilitates the development of strong communities.”

“In the face of this administration’s latest cruel and inhumane policy, we are prepared to fight their efforts to fundamentally change our immigration system,” said Annie Wang, Director of AALDEF’s Immigrant Justice Project. “We believe that a country as rich in resources as the United States should ensure that everyone can make a decent living, have access to housing, medical care, and education, and seek a better future. Now more than ever, we need to work together to build a healthy and prosperous future for all Americans, native-born and immigrants alike.”

The proposed rule is not the law, and the American public will have the opportunity to prevent it from becoming the law. Once the rule is officially published on the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule before the DHS proceeds with final rulemaking.

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For more information, contact:
Annie J. Wang, Director, Immigrant Justice Project
212.966.5932 x213

Stan Mark, Senior Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x204