Take Action to Support Immigrants!

Lindsay Cashman Access to Health + Wellness, Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Diverse + Connected Region, Featured Advocacy, General, Opportunities for Success

PUMP stands in unity with immigrants and leaders and organizations from Pittsburgh and across the country in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed change to the “inadmissibility on public charge grounds” rule.

Read our public statement and letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Why do we oppose this?

The public charge policy, originally implemented in 1882, considers numerous factors to determine an individual’s eligibility for legal permanent resident status based on whether they are likely to depend on public resources to meet their needs. The proposed changes would expand the rule to include an individual’s eligibility for certain safety net public benefits (i.e. federal housing assistance programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid); as well as stricter guidelines around age, health status, and income.

This is an obvious attempt at transforming this country into a nation where only wealthy people are welcome. Denying people the right to proceed in the American immigration system because of their income level, past utilization of or eligibility for safety net programs, or specific health status is unjust and discriminatory and does not further a welcoming and prosperous society for all. It is also un-American and emphatically not the nation we envision.

Our country can be – and must be – better than that. Hard-working immigrants who want to build a better America with us are not a threat – they are part of what makes us strong.

We join Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Just Harvest, All for All, Casa San Jose, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, Feeding America, National Housing Law Project, Protecting Immigrant Families, National Immigration Law Center, and the Center for Law and Social Policy, among others, in rejecting the proposed changes and affirming our commitment to protecting immigrants.

Take Action!

In order for PUMP to work towards its mission to make our region the most dynamic and diverse place by engaging, educating, and mobilizing all young people to create change in our community, we must oppose this discriminatory proposal that would negatively and unjustly impact people who are the very fabric of American society and economic activity.

We urge you to join us in submitting a comment opposing this proposal. Comments are due by Monday (December 10, 2018) so act now to #BeHeard on this issue.

Learn more about the issue.

We have included resources below to help you draft your remarks to submit a comment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

How to write a comment:

  • Clearly state your position:
    • For example: I oppose the proposed changes because…
    • Tell your story if you think it’s relevant (note that all comments are public record)
    • Highlight what issues impact your position if possible (talking points/facts below may help)
  • Specifically ask the Department of Homeland Security to not implement the proposed changes to the “Inadmissibility on public charge grounds” rule
  • Write your own comment- don’t copy someone else’s

Talking Points:

  • Economy:
    • In Pennsylvania, 86% of all adults active in the labor force who would be affected by the rule are employed (New American Economy)
      • Total cost to Pennsylvania economy if PA workers affected by the public charge rule left the United States could amount to $1.9 billion ($1.1billion in worker’s income + $800 million indirect effects).
    • A household income below 125% of the poverty level will be evaluated negatively against immigrants under the proposed rule. Only households with income over 250% of the poverty level – a threshold that over half of all Pennsylvanian families do not meet – would be evaluated positively (Just Harvest).
    • Many people who would be affected by this proposal are our society’s greatest asset: hard-working families. Public benefit programs are investments that empower these families to contribute to our country’s economic growth, cultural diversity, and vibrant communities.
  • Food insecurity
    • The proposed rule has already hurt low-income families by creating a culture of fear around utilizing public benefits – including federal food assistance.
    • Fewer Immigrant Families Are Signing Up for Federal Food Assistance (NPR)
    • If the changes are implemented, many immigrant families will not access federal food assistance out of fear, creating a significant financial burden on state governments, nonprofits, and other emergency food providers. (Food Research and Action Center)
    • Increased food insecurity would result in repercussions for healthcare costs, education, and economic stability (Food Research and Action Center)
  • Health Care + Wellbeing
    • The proposed rule has already contributed to an increase in the number of U.S. kids who don’t have health insurance (NPR)
    • “Moms are afraid to sign back up for Medicaid, food stamps, and other services,” because of fear around the proposed rule – harming children in immigrant families who suffer from a lack of access to nutritious food, health care, and stable housing (CLASP)
    • Denying immigrants legal permanent resident status in the U.S. because they need access to federally funded health insurance is discriminatory against low-income people and people with illnesses and disabilities who deserve the right to affordable, high-quality healthcare options. Nobody should be forced to choose between accessing necessary health care and maintaining their immigration status.
  • Affordable Housing/Housing Assistance
    • The proposed rule: “will deter many eligible immigrant families from seeking much-needed housing and homelessness benefits. Those already participating in these programs will feel compelled to give up the lifeline assistance that keeps their families one step away from homelessness. Studies have shown that unstable housing situations can cause individuals to experience increased hospital visits, loss of employment, and mental health problems” (National Housing Law Project)
    • Affordable housing is essential for personal, familial, and social stability. Stable housing gives all families the support they need to be able to maintain employment, contribute to the economy, and support themselves and their communities.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! Comments are due Monday, December 10.

Submit comments on the proposed rule change directly to the Department of Homeland Security today to ensure you are heard!