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Groups Claim Proposed Green-Card Rules Favor Wealthy Immigrants

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Protesters rallied on Friday in Los Angeles against the Trump administration's proposed changes to the "public charge" rule. (California Immigrant Policy Center)
Protesters rallied on Friday in Los Angeles against the Trump administration's proposed changes to the "public charge" rule. (California Immigrant Policy Center)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
November 19, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today is National Public Comment Day - part of a campaign responding to President Donald Trump's proposal to make it harder for working-class, legal immigrants to get a green card.

Only three weeks are left to register your opinion on the "public charge rule" that would weigh recent reliance on Medi-Cal, Cal Fresh, Medicare Part D or Section 8 housing vouchers against those applying to remain in the country. Carolina Gamero, senior communications specialist with the California Immigrant Policy Center, said the regulation would lead to more suffering.

"Families will go without food, without health care, without housing support,” Gamero said. “It really makes this country sicker and poorer and it really cuts away at economic mobility and prosperity in this country."

Other factors that would count against applicants with the new proposal include being a senior, having multiple children, poor English-language skills, limited education and poor credit history. It also would favor wealthier immigrants who make more than $62,000 a year for a family of four.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has defended the proposal, saying immigrants must prove they can support themselves financially.

Gamero said the change already is having a chilling effect - causing millions to be afraid to use any social programs, even those such as Covered California or the WIC food program that are not included in the proposal.

"This public-charge assessment is rooted in a lot of historically racist conceptions of immigrants as being a burden on the government,” she said. “And this proposed regulation really punishes families for accessing these vital programs that take care of their basic needs."

This change does not apply to undocumented immigrants, since they are ineligible for these programs already. More information in the proposed changes is available at ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org. The public comment period at Regulations.gov ends December 10.

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