Today, December 10, 2018, is the last day to submit a comment to the Federal Register on the U.S. Administration’s proposed “public charge” rule, which would bar certain individuals from obtaining entry into the U.S. This proposed rule has the potential to adversely affect some of Women for Afghan Women’s (WAW) New York Community Center clients. WAW calls on all of its staff to submit comments and share this post, as well as to solicit the help of all our networks and clients. The submission of public comments during the rulemaking process are a vital tool civil society can use to address the challenges within the proposed rule and create a better, more refined policy. You may submit a comment here.
About the proposed rule:
The proposed rule would expand definition of “public charge”–i.e. a person determined to likely become financially dependent on the government–and render him/her ineligible for a green card and certain types of visas. The expansion would exclude individuals based on current or potential future usage of public healthcare, as well as housing and food assistance, in addition to those with poor credit, heavy student debt burdens, lack of employment prospects, and serious medical conditions.
- The rule does not apply to refugees, asylums, applicants for a U or T visa, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners, or Special Immigrant Juveniles.
- It does not apply to green card renewals or citizenship applications.
- Should the rule go into effect in the coming months, it will not be retroactive–which means that use of public benefits in the past, will not adversely affect an immigrant’s application.
Suggested Themes for Comments:
- The proposed rule will adversely effect immigrant children, mothers, and families, threaten their access to basic healthcare and nutrition, and help create cyclic poverty and marginalization. The mere existence of the proposed rule is already leading immigrants to turn down or remove themselves from the rolls of public assistance.
- Changing the definition of “public charge” will lead to sick children devoid of access to healthcare, hungry families devoid of access to food, and entire communities devoid of the opportunity to achieve safety, stability, and prosperity.
- The proposed rule runs counter to the spirit of international legal obligations of immigration policy.
- The proposed change of the definition of “public charge” represents an arbitrary and capricious act of government intended to unnecessarily exclude low-income individuals from the United States and the economic opportunities offered therein.
- The denial of green cards and visas to individuals based on the proposed “public charge” definition will harm U.S. businesses, stymie innovation, and undermine America’s economic competitiveness. This harm will reverberate through every single sector of the economy, and adversely affect individuals of every income.
- The lack of clarity in the proposed rule about the various factors for consideration to determine whether an individual constitutes a “public charge” leaves too much discretion in the hands of application adjudicators, likely leading to uneven interpretation of the rule and an overly expansive exclusion of otherwise eligible applicants.
Please make sure to submit your comments by midnight tonight. For further information or queries, please contact WAW’s Director of Advocacy, Megan Corrado at email@example.com.