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Statement: Call to Action for Immigrant Health

The following statement is in response to the proposed rule change on public charge and its effects on the health of immigrant communities. Issued by the UndocuHealth Leaders Coalition

Our health as immigrant people is what will strengthen and sustain us through difficult moments. We have an opportunity to advocate for and defend the health of immigrants by submitting online comments against ‘public charge’ – the rule that threatens the health of immigrant people.

On Wednesday, October 10 of 2018, the Trump administration posted recommendations to expand ‘public charge’. A person in the United States can be considered under ‘public charge’ if they are primarily dependent on federal government services. If a person is applying to become a Legal Permanent Resident (green card) or is entering the country on a visa, they will be reviewed under the ‘public charge’ rule.

The expansion is part of a pattern to collectively decimate immigrant life in the US. Other deliberate attacks include the rescission of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), ending TPS (Temporary Protected Status), propositions to build a wall along the Mexico and US border, increased funding for ICE agents and Border Patrol, enacting a Muslim ban, keeping immigrant children in cages and placing them in adoption proceedings and expansion of detention centers across the US.

The term ‘public charge’ is manipulative and implies that immigrants are a burden to the United States. Despite the numerous financial and cultural contributions immigrants make to the US, we continue to be scapegoated and blamed for economic mismanagement and political woes.


Proposed changes are seeking to include non-emergency Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA), Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP or food stamps), and housing assistance (such as Section 8 housing vouchers) to be considered under ‘public charge’.

If this proposed change becomes permanent, it will have dire consequences on immigrant communities who will fear to use public benefits that sustain their lifeline for health. The unintended consequences will be devastating as immigrant and mixed-status families continue to increasingly distrust the government for assistance with basic needs such as healthcare, education and other social services.


Immigrant communities are resilient and have proven that we can count on each other. We must stand together to continue to care for and protect immigrant life.

The proposed rule opens a 60 day public comment period that ends on Monday, December 10th. During these 60 days we urge you to submit online comments to express how the proposed rule can negatively impact your life or the life of someone you know and love.


We cannot allow this xenophobic administration to position immigrant life between their health or safety. Be heard and protect immigrant families by using the link below to submit a public comment:

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