Washington, DC - Today’s Supreme Court ruling on “public charge” is reprehensible. President Trump’s public charge rule is part of his administration’s sweeping and ongoing government-wide assault on immigrants. This rule is designed to do the greatest harm to low-income immigrants and their children by severely restricting their ability to access critical food, health and housing assistance.
The public charge rule puts low-income immigrants in an impossible bind of having to choose between accessing the supports they need to live safe and healthy lives or protecting their immigration status. Children, including U.S. citizen children, and immigrants of color will be among those most harmed. The rule will widen racial disparities in everything from infant mortality to housing instability. Immigrants already face significant barriers to securing affordable homes, from racism and discrimination to language and educational barriers. The public charge rule will exacerbate these challenges and put affordable homes further out of reach.
The rule is meant to incite fear and create confusion among immigrants, and unfortunately it is working, with far-reaching impact. This chilling effect is causing people to disenroll from programs or forgo benefits for which they are eligible. As many as 26 million people and their families could be dissuaded from using public benefits under this rule, leaving them without needed access to food assistance, healthcare and affordable housing.
Evictions and homelessness come with tremendous personal and societal costs from spiraling deeper into poverty and the poorer health, lowered educational attainment and lessened lifetime earnings that result. The rule is both cruel and short-sighted. Whatever “savings” the administration claims will come from this rule will be paid many times over through associated costs to children, families, communities, and the country.
About NLIHC: Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.