Statement on Federal Public Charge Ruling
Statement by Marie-Frances Rivera, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), in response to the Department of Homeland Security's release of the finalized rule on public charge:
"President Trump's Department of Homeland Security yesterday released a
that makes deeply troubling changes in our nation's immigration policies. The rule will make it very difficult for people who are not wealthy to receive a visa to immigrate to the U.S., become permanent residents (get a "green card"), or gain citizenship.
This rule makes family income and the current and possible future use of benefits such as MassHealth (Medicaid), food stamps, or certain forms of subsidized housing grounds for being denied legal access to enter or stay in the U.S. This will push people into an impossible choice: forgoing critical supports for their families or risking the chance to remain in the U.S.
This ruling puts the health and wellbeing of our communities in jeopardy. Many immigrants who are legally in the United States may fear accessing medical care and other basic supports that they need and are eligible for under federal law.
People not directly subject to the rule may also fear that they should drop or avoid receiving those benefits. Our
indicates that such a rule change could cause as many as a half a million Massachusetts residents - including 160,000 children - to withdraw from needed benefits for fear of having an impact on a family member's immigration status.
Public benefits are tightly woven into the fabric and economy of our state. If we want our communities to thrive, everyone must be able to live without fear and get the care and support they need to remain healthy and productive. To deem a person unworthy to stay in this country due to their economic status puts a price tag on who is allowed to participate and thrive in our society - it obstructs racial and economic equity in our Commonwealth.
MassBudget is proud to stand with our recently emigrated neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family members who enrich our communities in countless ways. This rule, along with other harsh executive orders and actions by the Trump Administration, is part of a continued effort to provide opportunity for some, but not for all. It should be reversed as swiftly as possible."
Interested in learning more about public charge? Read our report on the "chilling effect" of this rule and its impact on Massachusetts here.