Detroit’s Immigration Task Force: Statement against the proposed
change to the Public Charge by Trump Administration
We, members of the Immigration Task Force, strongly
object to the Trump administration’s proposed change to
‘public charge’, which marks a significant and harmful
departure from the current policy.
The proposed rule changes the definition of public charge to
apply to anyone who is likely to use or has used in the past
public benefit programs such as Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps), Medicare Part D Low
Income Subsidy, Housing assistance, and non-emergency
The proposed rule also adopts a new income threshold for
households seeking to overcome a ‘public charge’ test by giving
negative weight to immigrants who earn less than 125% of the
Federal Poverty Level. Additional negative factors include being
a child or senior citizen, having limited English proficiency,
poor credit history, limited education, a large family, and
pre-existing health conditions.
This proposed change has resulted in many immigrant families
being afraid of seeking basic needs assistance, instilling fear
that individuals who have taken advantage of assistance like
Medicaid and food stamps (amongst many other benefits) may
result in the rejection of their visa petitions or green cards.
If implemented, this vindictive proposed change will punish many
immigrants, especially those present in the U.S. lawfully and
those eligible for family-based immigration. It has caused
anxiety and sparked confusion, making immigrant families suffer
even more under this unnecessary burden.
Even though certain immigrants may be exempt from the rule, such
as refugees and asylees, the proposed rule is expected to cause
many to disenroll from out of fear and confusion this rule will
cause. Research has shown that this chilling effect would extend
to 283,000 people in Michigan of which 114,000 are children.
It could potentially worsen the financial security of the
families affected, aggravate homelessness and hunger which in
turn affects the community at large.
America is a nation of diversity, both demographically and
experientially. Diversity is the key to innovation and
creativity and it is this diversity that has shaped our values,
enriching our nation in the course of history and heritage.
We must stand up against this attack on values of family,
community and fairness which form the very fabric that weaved
So, let us work toward moving our nation forward by helping
immigrants and their families succeed, because this outcome is
crucial for our nation’s progress and future.