A new proposal by the administration to drastically limit legal immigration could hurt millions of children and families across the country. Of all the recent cruel and unnecessary policies on immigration, this one stands out.
In this pending rule change, a person applying for a green card or visa could be denied if they access any one of a range of safety-net programs, including food, health care programs and housing assistance. Families would have to weigh the need to provide for their children against their desire for a permanent future in the United States.
The grave likelihood is that under this new rule, people will be afraid to access critical services. Hunger, illness, child poverty and homelessness will increase, and educational outcomes will suffer. It will have lasting negative consequences for families as well as for the economy.
California will be especially impacted. We are home to over 10 million immigrants—more than any other state. The proposed changes undermine California’s bipartisan efforts to integrate immigrant communities and ensure they have full access to civic and economic opportunities.
We know that immigrants are an integral part of what makes us strong. Immigrants contribute 32 percent, or $715 billion, to California’s gross domestic product, according to a report from the California Immigrant Policy Center and the USC Center on Immigrant Integration. When immigrants are fully included, we all benefit.
It is important to note that as of today no changes have been made to this policy. The federal Office of Management and Budget is currently taking public comments on the proposed change, and advocates are fighting back.
A Call to Action
At the Weingart Foundation, we are committed to strengthening our nonprofit partners as they respond to critical community needs and threats to basic human rights. We encourage our partners in the nonprofit sector to:
- Inform your constituents with accurate and accessible information
- Document the impact of this proposed rule by sharing stories and statistics about people who may be avoiding needed services because of fears related to public charge or immigration enforcement
- Consider submitting a public comment to the federal government about how the proposed rules would affect your organization and the communities you serve
For more information and to get involved, please contact the California Immigrant Policy Center. Also, here is a link to a recent op-ed on this issue in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, authored by Antonia Hernández, Dr. Robert K. Ross and myself.
The administration’s proposal will hurt the health and well-being of communities. It is also a radical reshaping of the national immigration system to exclude millions of working-class families of color. We must respond by standing up for a future of inclusion, diversity and opportunity for all.
President & C.E.O.