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HIAS Statement on "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” Final Rule

Silver Spring, MD – Today, the Federal Register published the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule. If not blocked by the courts, this new policy will go into effect on October 15th.

If implemented, the altered public charge rules would force lawfully admitted immigrants to choose between accessing vital assistance for their families and jeopardizing their ability to move forward on the pathway to citizenship. The changes would also introduce yet another form of family separation, by precluding relatives from coming to the United States if it is thought that they might need to avail themselves of life sustaining support in the future.

In response to the publication of the public charge final rule, Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ President and CEO, stated, “This is not the first time that we have seen U.S. officials use ‘public charge’ rules as a way to turn away immigrants that they deem are undesirable. During HIAS’ almost 140 years of assisting those who come to the United States seeking safety and freedom, almost all of the refugees and immigrants that we have served arrived with limited financial means.”

He went on to say, “This country is not just about welcoming those who arrive ready to ‘stand on their own two feet,’ as was recently suggested by a senior Administration official. After working in the low wage jobs that keep this country running, New Americans secure brighter futures for their children, and remind all of us that families’ successes are not automatically determined by their circumstances before they arrive in this country.  Immigrants are taxpayers who also need a safety net when they hit a rough patch.  Blocking immigrants from basic food, housing and medical assistance is unwarranted and flouts basic norms of human decency.”