The deadline for commenting in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) proposed rule to add to the “public charge” definition the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing programs, as well as other non-housing programs, is today, December 10. NLIHC strongly opposes the proposed rule because of the harm it would do to immigrant families and our communities. NLIHC encourages advocates to submit short comments through www.regulations.gov or through the easy-to-use portal developed by the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign. More than 140,000 comments have already been submitted to-date! Read NLIHC’s comments to DHS here.
Background: DHS proposes changes to the criteria used to determine whether someone is a “public charge” – i.e., someone likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Under the proposed rule, public charge status would weigh heavily in determining whether noncitizens seeking admission to the U.S., noncitizens applying for lawful permanent resident status (green card), or those seeking an extension of or changes to their non-immigrant status are subject to a review to determine whether they are, or might become, a public charge. If the official determines that the individual is likely to become a public charge, the person’s application may be denied.
In addition to the housing programs mentioned, the administration would add the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), Medicaid, and parts of Medicare to the public charge definition. The proposed test would also take into consideration the applicants’ age, health status, and English proficiency. If the rule is implemented, an applicant for a visa or green card would, for the first time, be judged by whether they need—or might need in the future—support for safe and stable housing, food assistance, and health care.
Resources: The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) offer a template comment letter for housing advocates and housing providers. To access the template, please email Arianna Cook-Thajudeen at: email@example.com. You can also use NLIHC’s comments as a template. NLIHC urges housing advocates to modify these templates to submit comments tailored to your community.
View an NHLP a webinar, “Trump Administration's Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule: What Housing and Homelessness Advocates Should Know” and other materials at: https://bit.ly/2zNUhFB
Other public charge and housing resources, including fact sheets and talking points, are available here.
The Protecting Immigrant Families campaign portal is at: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/