WASHINGTON, DC - A new federal rule has immigration advocates speaking out.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday they would be adding a new rule to those seeking a green card in the country.
The rule known as the “public charge” rule would make it harder for immigrants using public aid, like SNAP, to obtain a green card or permanent status in the country.
"Through the public charge rule, President Trump's administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility,” said acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli. “Ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America. Our rule generally prevents aliens who are likely to become a public charge from coming to the United States or remaining here and getting a green card.”
The rule has drawn criticism nationwide and in Kentucky. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says it’s a “terrible policy” that will impact thousands of Kentuckians.
“It’s not just people who will be directly impacted by the rule either, it will also be people who chose not to participate in programs because they’ve heard about the public charge rule, they’ve heard misinformation about who it impacts, or they’ve heard information that is no longer accurate because of some tweaks in the rule that causes them to be afraid of participating,” said Anna Baumann, Communications Director for KCEP. “That’s called the chilling effect, so we know ultimately impact a lot more people than it even technically applies to.”
Baumann says the rule could cause migrants in the country to stop receiving public assistance.
“You’re definitely going to see families forgoing medical care, struggling to put food on the table because they are trying to avoid being penalized for participating in these programs, programs again which they are eligible for and help their families get by,” said Baumann. “While kids' participation in these programs is not counted against them in the final rule, of course, if you are a child living in the household of an adult who chooses not to participate that’s going to impact you as. It’s going to impact families, it’s going to be bad for families not just because they’ll forgo this assistance that provides the things we all need to survive.”
The rule will likely receive a legal challenge, while it’s unclear when that challenge will be filed Baumann hopes the courts will enjoin the rule while it works the way through the court system.
“It would be ideal if the courts halted it, we don’t know at this point,” she said. “But of course the livelihood and the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians potentially millions of people across America, hangs in the balance of that decision.”