Trump Administration Releases Dangerous "Public Charge" Rule

UPDATED AUGUST 15, 2019

The Trump Administration just released the dangerous new "public charge" rule that we warned you about last year — and it will be a disaster for Texas children and families if it's implemented!

We are deeply concerned that the new policy will scare Texans into going without health care or other needed services.

ctn-oct2018-public-charge.png

If it is implemented, the policy will penalize applicants for green cards (legal permanent residency) if they have legally enrolled in a public assistance program, such as a green card applicant who received SNAP food stamps while on a student visa.

The rule does NOT penalize a green card applicant for using Children’s Medicaid (up to age 21), CHIP, Medicaid for Pregnant Women, ACA subsidies, emergency medical care, WIC, or school breakfast or lunch. Also, the rule does NOT penalize applicants for family members’ use of benefits. 

(SKIP TO THE END OF THIS POST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHO AND WHAT IS COVERED BY THIS RULE)

Yet, due to confusion and fear of the policy, even families who are NOT included in the policy will pull out of programs that help keep them healthy.

As a result, millions of Texans — including 1.6 million U.S. citizen children with a non-citizen parent — could miss out on the health care they need.

In fact, there have been widespread reports nationwide and in Texas over the last year that families with a non-citizen parent are already dropping health insurance and other services for their U.S. citizen children. Frightened families are avoiding these services in anticipation of the public charge rule and in reaction to other efforts targeting immigrants. The data confirm enrollment in Children's Medicaid and CHIP is falling while the children's uninsured rate is getting worse.

If that trend continues and accelerates, it will be terrible for Texas.

Our state already has the worst children's uninsured rate in the nation — and this rule would make it even worse!

In fact, this policy seems to forget how normal it is for children to be enrolled in Medicaid insurance at a time when millions of jobs pay low wages and offer no health insurance.

The new rule is scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019 if it is not withdrawn, delayed, blocked by the courts, or defunded by Congress.

But we will fight back — and we have a real chance to stop this policy before it takes effect.

For more information, see the statements and analysis from CPPP, Children's Defense Fund-Texas, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Families USA or visit protectingimmigrantfamilies.org.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can help fight back!

Learn More About Who and What is Covered by the New Rule

If it is implemented, the new rule will penalize applicants for green cards (legal permanent residency) if they have legally enrolled in a public assistance program, such as a green card applicant who received SNAP food stamps while on a student visa.

Because of program eligibility rules in Texas, only a very small number of legally-present immigrants without green cards can personally use SNAP food stamps or housing assistance and therefore be affected by the rule when they apply for a green card.

Enrollment in programs before the rule takes effect is NOT considered under the rule. The rule is currently scheduled to take effect October 15, 2019.

The new rule does NOT penalize a green card applicant for using Children’s Medicaid (up to age 21), CHIP, Medicaid for Pregnant Women, ACA subsidies, emergency medical care, WIC, or school breakfast or lunch. 

Also, the new rule does NOT consider benefits used by the applicant’s family members. There is NO benefit to a green card applicant if their family members drop their Medicaid, SNAP, CHIP, ACA subsidies, school meals, or other important services. 

Those who already have their green cards are NOT affected by this rule when they apply to become a citizen.  Refugees, asylees, and several other humanitarian immigration categories are also NOT included in the rule. Because undocumented immigrants are NOT eligible for Medicaid or SNAP, this new rule will NOT directly affect them.

One of the big reasons that many organizations and elected officials oppose this rule is that it WILL make it much harder for immigrants to obtain a green card if their family income is low enough for children or a spouse to qualify for Medicaid or SNAP. That income-based penalty applies to green card applicants whether or not they or a family member have enrolled in SNAP, Medicaid, or other programs.

To determine if the rule affects a family member who is currently applying for a green card or is legally present and plans to apply for a green card in the future, families should consult with a qualified immigration legal services provider. Texas has many reputable community organizations that can provide free or low-cost help.

More details for families and communities are available here from Protecting Immigrant Families and available here from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.