Senate Vote to Rescind Biden’s Public Charge Rule Ignores Impact to Kids and Families

The following statement can be attributed to Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration and immigrant families at the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Washington, D.C., May 17, 2023 — We are extremely disappointed that today the Senate advanced a measure under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Biden Administration’s 2022 public charge rule in a vote of 50-47. We are concerned that many of our nation’s leaders failed to recognize the importance of protecting the new public charge rule, which has been critical in correcting the significant harms of the 2019 rule and restoring immigrant families’ confidence in seeking out benefits they or their children may be eligible for. 

No one should be deterred from accessing health care, food, or other basic needs out of fear that doing so may compromise their ability to obtain a green card and remain with their family. The 2019 public charge rule created a chilling effect with grave consequences. Even after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, research shows that immigrant families avoided a range of public benefits, and that more than a quarter of a million children in immigrant families–the vast majority of whom are U.S. citizens–were unenrolled from health care programs. 

We call on the House of Representatives to stop this proposal from moving forward. While the White House has already stated its intent to veto this measure, we know that any effort to move forward with this legislation creates fear and confusion among immigrant communities. We urge all our policymakers to act with courage and responsibility in their response to the challenges facing our immigration system. This includes not falling prey to misguided and xenophobic attempts to scapegoat and harm immigrant families whose contributions are so vital to our nation’s future.