Trump Anti-family Regulation Draws 104,000+ Comments: Proposal would deny immigrants for meeting basic needs

CONTACT: Center for Law and Social Policy: Tom Salyers (202-607-1074),; or National Immigration Law Center: Juan Gastelum (213-375-3149) or Hayley Burgess (202-384-1279),

Washington, DC, November 30, 2018 – A Trump Administration regulatory proposal to effectively restrict immigration access based on income has drawn more than 104,000 comments since the legally required public comment period opened on October 10. The National Immigration Law Center and the Center for Law and Social Policy are coordinating a campaign to protect millions of immigrant families from this attack.

Widely reported by the press, the “public charge” regulation would put people at risk of immigration denials if they use Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Section 8 housing, Medicare’s prescription drug assistance program, or other programs. Specifically, the regulation puts applications for admission to the United States and applications for permanent residence (a “green card”) at risk. The proposal would also make it far harder for working immigrants, especially parents, to be approved for residency if they do not have high incomes or wealth, by counting a range of demographic factors against applicants. These include being a child, being over age 61, having limited English language skills, and having a disability.

“The response has been incredible not only in terms of volume, but also in terms of the breadth of perspectives represented. Mayors from across the country, Members of Congress, community leaders, and many, many individuals are letting the Trump Administration know that children, families and communities deserve better,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Experts warn that the plan would worsen hunger, unmet health needs, and other problems by making immigrant families — including families with children — afraid to get the help they need. Comments opposing the regulation validate those concerns.

“I am applying for Green Card. I already dis-enrolled my child from CHIP out of fear since the draft policy floated around early this year. I pray every day nothing bad happens to my child,” wrote one anonymous commenter.

Advocates for economic opportunity and immigrant families charge that the proposal would put wealthy immigrants ahead of families and expands a policy that has been historically used to discriminate against certain racial, ethnic and social classes. Commenters also underscore those concerns.

“This rule is diametrically opposed to our most basic values as a nation and devalues the fact that many of our top doctors, scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs are the children or grandchildren of immigrants who came to the United States with little more than the clothes on their backs and dreams for a better future,” wrote Meredith Owen, of Church World Service.

“This undeniably xenophobic policy, disguised as an economic decision, closed off one of the few escape routes for European Jews facing deportation to concentration camps, and contributed to the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust,” wrote Samuel Chu, National Organizer for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

But advocates point out that the American people have an opportunity to take direct action opposing the regulation. Federal law requires that the Administration give the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal. Commenters are not required to give their address or divulge their immigration status. Concerned members of the public can learn more and submit comments on the proposal at through December 10, 2018.

Comments on the public charge regulations (and on the just-closed regulation that addressed incarceration of immigrant children and families) nearly double the prior record of 50,714 comments that DHS received on a student visa training options regulation proposed in 2015.

“In November, voters rejected Trump’s hateful attacks on low-income families and immigrant families,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Now people all over the country are raising their voices again to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-family agenda and take the power back.”