SVCF opposes proposed federal public charge rule change

On September 22, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a draft proposed rule to expand the scope of programs that can trigger a public charge determination for immigrants seeking green cards. The proposal would broaden the list of publicly-funded programs that impact immigration officers’ decisions on whether someone is likely to become a public charge. A public charge is defined as a person who is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, and an immigrant deemed “likely to become a public charge”may be denied admission to the U.S. or lawful permanent resident status.

“This attack on our immigrant families could threaten the health of more than a million Californians by penalizing them if they access basic services like nutritional and housing programs or forcing them to choose between accessing basic services or continuing their naturalization process,” explains Gina Dalma, SVCF’s Vice President of Government Relations.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation has submitted comments rejecting this change. We would like to encourage others to do the same. SVCF also signed on to a campaign led by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants & Refugees (GCIR) and Philanthropy California to encourage our philanthropic partners to become engaged on this issue.

Last month, SVCF convened community leaders and stakeholders to discuss the potential community impact and chilling effect that the proposed ruling would have on immigrants and their families.  We also commissioned data that was shared during that event on how the ruling could affect each of the nine Bay Area counties.

The data sheets presented at the convening can be viewed here:

If this proposed rule gets implemented, the impact on our Californian communities could be devastating and there is no rationale or evidence that points to its need. In San Mateo and Santa Clara counties alone this ruling could potentially impact over 350,000 immigrants and their families, including U.S. citizen children, according to the data presented by MPI.

The federal government is accepting public comments until Dec. 10, 2018. Comments may be submitted directly via the Federal RegisterComments can be of any length and submitted as a PDF.

This is a critical issue that will affect all of us and the future and sustainability of our communities and our state. We are raising our voice, joining our partners and urging others to do the same.

Discussion at SVCF