By La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) | Originally published on February 23, 2020
La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an organizational member of Equal Voice Action and the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, speaks out against the implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule. The rule, which Equal Voice Action strongly opposes, imposes wealth tests on low-income immigrants and harms the well-being of families who need access to essential public services.
“Our dignity is not defined by what we look like or what’s in our wallet”
SAN JUAN, TX—A Trump regulation took effect Monday, February 24th, that uses financial status and possible use of public assistance to deny green cards to some immigrants. The rule is being implemented by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in January freed the policy to take effect while challenges to the legality of the rule make their way through the courts.
The rule imposes a series of wealth tests on low-income and elderly immigrants of color, and observers including CNN say it could fundamentally reshape legal immigration to the U.S.
“LUPE families know that our dignity is not defined by what we look like or what’s in our wallet,” said Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero. “Trump is relentless in trying to keep immigrants of color from entering this country. This racist policy discriminates against low-income and elderly immigrants of color because they ‘might’ need public assistance at some point in the future. One part of the new rules require that immigrants post a $10,000 bond before they can enter this country. Only wealthy families could afford that bond. In fact, fears about the new policy have already caused our nation to become a poorer, sicker place.”
News of the policy has created a demonstrable chilling effect on immigrants receiving health services and public assistance for which they qualify. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that nearly half of community health centers reported immigrant patients declining or canceling coverage because of fear or confusion surrounding the public charge regulation.
For that reason advocates are combating fear with facts, encouraging immigrant families to learn how the policy may impact them before rushing to remove themselves from public services and programs their families need to be healthy and thrive.
“Como padres, trabajamos duro y hacemos todo lo posible para darles a nuestros hijos un mejor futuro, incluso a veces el uso de asistencias públicas,” said LUPE social services provider Xochitl Hinojosa. “Trump está poniendo el dinero antes de la familia, tratando de hacer que el dinero sea lo único que importa. Pero es importante que nuestra comunidad sepa que solo por utilizar asistencia pública no se convierte en una carga pública. No tenga miedo. Hable con un experto para saber de sus derechos!”
Community members with questions about how public charge may impact their immigration case are invited to visit a LUPE office and speak to an immigration legal services expert.
LUPE is a nonprofit organization that helps the community organize for and win a better quality of life. LUPE was founded in 1989 by farmworker and civil rights leaders Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta. They are a membership-based organization whose strength is found in the participation of over eight thousand members. LUPE is a member organization of the RGV Equal Voice Network.
For more information on “public charge,” see the following resources:
- New federal public charge rule will hurt families and children – Alabama Arise
- After Decades of Progress, Children’s Health Coverage is Now in Jeopardy – CHN
- Urban Institute: Due to Fear, One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Forgoed Public Benefits – CHN
- Call to Action: EVA Opposes Proposed Changes to “Public Charge” Regulation
- FWAF Statement on Proposed Rule Targeting Low-Income Immigrants in the U.S.
- NDWA: Trump Regulation Rigs Immigration for the Super-Rich, Expands Abusive Policy
- Will “Public Charge” Block Citizenship for Immigrants?