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Fight Back Against Harmful New Policy Targeting Immigrant Families

Public Benefits

Fight Back Against Harmful New Policy Targeting Immigrant Families

Sweeping change to longstanding federal policies will put immigrant families and communities at risk

Yesterday, the Trump administration published a new proposed policy that will strip many immigrants of the ability to lawfully immigrate to the U.S. to live with their families.  The Department of Homeland Security must consider the public’s comments on this policy before implementing it. 

The comment period started yesterday and will continue through December 10, 2018.   Comments can be submitted through the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign’s comment page at or through

In a dramatic upheaval of longstanding federal policies, this new “public charge” policy will target immigrants with moderate to low incomes, and will penalize immigrants for accessing the healthcare, nutrition, and housing programs they qualify for, putting immigrant families, including millions of children, at great risk of hunger, illness, and poverty.    

Community Legal Services and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition join over 1500 organizations from all 50 states who have already voiced strong opposition to this proposed policy change. 

"The proposed changes could force immigrant families to choose between meeting basic needs and keeping their families together in the country they call home. This is not just an attack on immigrant families, but an attack on essential safety net programs that help working families make ends meet. If enacted, this rule change will undermine the health and wellbeing of millions of children - citizen and immigrant alike,” said Sundrop Carter, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.  “Our communities will not stay silent.  We can, and will, fight back by weighing in. We urge everyone to speak out against this cruel proposal and submit comments in opposition to these proposed changes today."

Public charge rules do not apply to all immigrants, but confusion and fear may cause even those who are exempt to lose access to vital benefits programs.  Whether people are cut off from essential services like health care or nutrition assistance because of an actual risk or a perceived risk of immigration consequences, the effects will be devastating.  

“The public charge proposal is a misguided and shortsighted attack on immigrant families and entire communities,” said Maripat Pileggi, Supervising Attorney at Community Legal Services.  “The consequences of cutting off whole portions of our communities from access to basic services is more costly - in terms of human lives and taxpayer dollars - than providing services in the first place.”