Proposed Immigration Rule Would Have A Chilling Effect On Families’ Access to Health Care and Other Essential Needs

(BOSTON, MA) – Statement of Michael Miller, strategic policy director of Community Catalyst, regarding the Trump administration’s announcement yesterday of proposed changes to the ‘public charge’ rule, which would make radical, harmful changes to how the US government determines which immigrant families can remain in the country and on a path to citizenship.

“Community Catalyst strongly condemns the Trump administration’s latest attack on immigrants and their families. The draft federal ‘public charge’ rule announced yesterday would force many immigrants to make an intolerable choice between ensuring health care, food and housing for their family, or keeping them together in this country. If approved, the rule would exacerbate sickness, poverty and hunger, widen health, racial and economic disparities, and divide families and communities. It would have a particularly devastating impact on children.

“The proposed rule is yet another troublesome step in the Trump administration’s growing campaign to restrict all immigration, as these changes would apply both to legal immigrants living in the U.S. and to family members who are U.S. citizens. It would effectively punish immigrants and their U.S.-born children for meeting basic human needs and seeking help through critical health care programs such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as other public programs. Research shows such policies have a “chilling effect”: when people fear their status is at risk by accessing these programs, they often forgo services, including vital medical care. And when children and families get sick and cannot get the care they need, they get sicker. The impact could spark a public health crisis across the country.

“We pride ourselves on being the nation of immigrants, whose contributions have made and continue to make the United States of America the great, diverse country it is today. This harsh and misguided policy goes against our basic values as a nation. It would not only set us back decades by undermining progress made in building healthier communities, it would put our friends, family and neighbors in harm's way.

“Community Catalyst joins our allies in health, education, nutrition, equity and economic opportunity as well as the medical community in vehemently opposing the proposed rule, and we call on members of Congress to block it.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. Headquartered in Boston, Community Catalyst has offices in Washington, DC, Atlanta, New York, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.

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