The Proposed Public Charge Regulations Must Not Be Finalized
On September 22, 2018, the Trump Administration released proposed harmful changes to the “public charge” rule. These changes would strongly raise new high barriers for prospective lawful permanent residents if they are poor or have used government benefits like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Medicare’s Part D with prescription medication costs for seniors, or housing subsidies. The new policy would also create higher barriers for people with a chronic illness or disability. Read more about the proposed changes and history of public charge.
All in all, the proposed changes to a little-known but critically important federal rule would be a deeply harmful re-structuring of longstanding U.S. immigration policy. You can stop this regulation from becoming finalized. Submit your comment by December 10, 2018.
As you draft your comment, consider:
How would this regulation impact you, your family, friends, and community?
- If you have family members that were immigrants, describe their experience, especially if you can point to their contributions to America. You may also want to explain how a person’s situation improves over time (learns English, earnings increase, education/training, creates jobs, etc).
- If you have received SNAP, Medicaid or housing assistance, talk about the role that access to benefits has played in your own life.
How does this proposed regulation violate your values or those of ours as a nation?
- For example, explain the realities of low and moderate wage work and why those workers shouldn’t be penalized based on low wages, lack of employer insurance, or lack of affordable housing.
Do you have expertise in an area that touches on these proposed regulations?
- Please detail how that program improves people’s lives. Please explain your expertise, and cite relevant research, data, and examples.
- If you work directly with immigrants, describe why they usually come to the country; how they use government benefits, what it means for their well-being & that of their children; and their contributions.
What elements of the regulation do you feel are unjust, unfair, cruel, illegal, and/or problematic?
Please take a look at these sample templates, which lay out discrete issues related to each sector. It is up to you to add examples that make these comments unique. Remember, you should modify the sample comment to reflect your own thoughts and experiences so that it counts as a unique comment.
Agency staff must code and organize all comments, and the process is very different if they have to pause and consider what is similar and what is different in each comment, as opposed to just counting the number of commenters saying the same thing.
The sample templates offer a starting point for various sectors, including health care providers, educators, mental health providers, disability rights advocates, LGBT advocates, immigration attorneys, and more.
The comment period closes in:
How to Write Your Comment
The administration must read and respond to each unique comment, so it is important to personalize your comment. Here are some additional tips for your comment:
Submit your own, separate comment rather than "sign-on"
USCIS must count how many comments they receive. If 5 people or organizations sign onto one comment letter, that counts as 1 comment. If they each send in their own comments, that counts as 5 comments.
Don’t suggest corrective language
Our ultimate goal is to stop this rule from moving forward: we don’t want to suggest that the proposed rule can be “fixed.”
Don’t discuss programs that aren’t mentioned in the rule
Highlighting programs that are not specifically mentioned could give USCIS cover to include additional programs in the final rule, even though they aren’t in the notice of proposed rule-making.
Attach research and supporting documents
Attach research and supporting documents so they are clearly part of the record. Or, cite to links and specifically request that the agency read the linked material.
If you are an expert in an issue area, say so.
Explain why you have credibility, are uniquely qualified, your educational or professional background, and consider attaching your resume or CV.
Comments must be in English, so provide translations
We encourage non-English speakers to comment! Submit the original, along with an English translation, and a translator’s statement:
- I, [translator’s name], hereby declare that I am fluent in [language] and English and that this translation is a true, accurate and complete version of the original text to the best of my knowledge.
If possible, avoid anonymous comments.
You can submit on behalf of a friend or relative; and health workers and attorneys may submit comments on behalf of multiple clients (be sure to acknowledge your relationship to provide context and legitimacy).
Share your submitted comment with Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign
Email email@example.com with your organization’s name in the email subject. This will help the PIF Campaign with their advocacy work.
Research and Relevant Documents to Cite
- The $1/Day Standard & Other Problems with DHS’s Public Charge Rule (Cato Institute, 2018)
- Through the Back Door: Remaking the Immigration System via the Expected “Public-Charge” Rule (MPI, 2018)
- Access to Health Care, Food, and Other Public Programs for Immigrant Families under the Trump Administration (National Immigration Law Center, 2018)
- Public Charge Expansion Proposed Rule: A Threat to Women of Color (National Latina Institute, September 2018)
- A New Threat to Immigrants’ Health — The Public-Charge Rule (The New England Journal of Medicine, 2018)
- Potential Effects of Public Charge Changes on Health Coverage for Citizen Children (Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018)
- Trump “Public Charge” Rule Would Prove Particularly Harsh for Pregnant Women and Children (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2018)
- Take Action: Harsh Policy Threatens Texas Families (Center for Public Police Priorities)
- Trump’s Immigration Plan Imposes Radical New Income and Health Tests (Center for American Progress, July 2018)