Press Release

City of New York Submits Comment in Opposition to Trump Administration's Proposed Changes to "Public Charge" Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2018
CONTACT: mediabox@moia.nyc.gov, 212-676-3013

NEW YORK—The City of New York submitted a comment to the Federal Register yesterday voicing its strong opposition to the Trump Administration's proposed "public charge" rule change, which, if adopted, could harm hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

"We strongly oppose yet another cruel policy coming out of the White House," said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. "This proposed rule, if finalized, could force working New Yorkers to choose between enrolling in public benefits they have a legal right to and staying in the country legally. The Trump administration's hateful and racist rhetoric will not change who we are as a beacon to the world. We are joining cities and municipalities across the nation to fight this rule with every tool at our disposal."

In the comment, the City demonstrates the widespread negative impacts to health, educational, economic, and general well-being that the proposed rule, if adopted, would inflict upon New Yorkers.

If the proposed rule were to go into effect, many New Yorkers could be denied green cards or certain kinds of visas for accessing certain public benefits for which they are legally eligible, or simply because of their age, health, education and employment history, among other factors. Hundreds of thousands of additional New Yorkers could also be harmed through a "chilling effect," wherein families might withdraw from or forgo critical social safety net programs based on misinformation and fears of immigration consequences. By law, many categories of immigrants—including refugees and asylees, as well as green card holders seeking U.S. citizenship—are not subject to the "public charge" test.

The City estimates that the proposed rule, if adopted, could impact hundreds of thousands of citizen and noncitizen New Yorkers, either through the direct application of the proposed rule or its "chilling effect." This population includes tens of thousands of particularly vulnerable city residents, such as seniors, people with disabilities, and children—including U.S. citizen children.  The City also estimates that, even using conservative assumptions, the proposed rule could increase the poverty rate among impacted individuals by 3.8 percentage points, and could have a significant impact on citywide poverty overall.

Additionally, the impacts on NYC Health + Hospitals and other safety net providers, patients, and finances could be significant. According to a recent analysis conducted by NYC Health + Hospitals, the proposed rule could impact 350,000 NYC Health + Hospitals patients and hit the public health system with a loss of up to $362 million in the first year.

"The proposed public charge policy is an attack at our very essence as a city and as nation of opportunity," said Phil Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. "If enacted, immigrants across the nation could not only be denied their right to legally stay the country simply for accessing certain public benefits but they could also be prevented from equal access because of their age, health, education and employment history. The de Blasio administration and community and government partners across the city are committed to fight this proposed rule tooth and nail for our residents. It's now incumbent on the federal government to fully process every last comment and hear from every last voice to deliver justice."

"The historic negative response to the Trump Administration's proposed rule on public charge makes it clear that the changes would radically reinterpret longstanding policy," said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. "We have demonstrated that the proposed rule would have widespread negative impacts on not only the health and safety of immigrants and their families, but also of the city as whole. The nation has spoken: we believe this proposal would harm all of us and we strongly urge the federal government not to implement this proposed rule."

"Our comment makes clear that, if the Trump Administration's irresponsible proposed changes to the 'public charge' rule were adopted, it would be devastating for the city as a whole, and even worse for immigrant families in particular," said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs will continue to make sure that communities have accurate, timely, and critical information they need to protect their families."

"These proposed changes to the federal public charge rule are a dramatic departure from long-standing federal policy and go against the values that made this country and our city a symbol of hope and opportunity to so many," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "Many immigrant New Yorkers will choose between their immigration status and benefits for which they are legally eligible. It is crucial for New Yorkers to understand that eligibility rules for benefits have not changed, and we will continue to serve all those who are eligible to receive our help."

"As New York City's single largest provider of health care to Medicaid recipients, we are alarmed as we hear about legal immigrants who are dropping their Medicaid coverage out of sheer fear that it may jeopardize their path to getting a green card or visa approved in the future," said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. "New Yorkers should not have to choose between the health care services to which they are entitled and a green card."

"The proposed public charge rules are inhumane and discriminatory. For many Immigrant New Yorkers, this would mean choosing between assistance for food, housing, or medical care, or their future in this country." said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "The Health Department is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers can continue to receive the public benefits they are eligible for without fears of retribution."

"This proposal shows a disregard for the well-being of children and families," said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. "It's an attack against the immigrant communities that make our schools, our City, and our nation great, and it will negatively impact countless students and make it more difficult for them to succeed in and out of school. I stand with Mayor de Blasio and our agency partners against this destructive proposal, and I say once again to all our New York City families, regardless of immigration status: our schools are safe havens for you." 

"This proposal would undoubtedly have a negative impact on the safety and well-being of many children in New York City because parents may fear seeking critical services and supports for their family. It is my fervent hope that the Trump Administration heeds our call by not moving forward with the proposed change to the 'public charge' rule," said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell.  

"We encourage older immigrant New Yorkers in need of public assistance to continue to utilize the resources provided by the City," said Department for the Aging acting Commissioner Caryn Resnick. "Seniors aren't required to show any government-issued identification when visiting City-funded senior centers, which provide meals, fitness programs, technology classes and more. Older immigrants should not have to choose between their immigration status and valuable resources."

"The public charge proposal puts the health and lives of immigrant individuals and families members with disabilities at risk," said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. "The benefits in this proposal are used by people with disabilities and are integral to helping individuals and families access the services they need."

Read the full comment here.

This comment is one of hundreds of thousands of comments that were submitted to the Federal Register following the proposed rule's publication date. Additionally, 33 local leaders across the country joined together in submitting a comment—led by Chicago and New York City—that addresses why the proposed rule is unlawful. The period to submit comments closed on December 10.

The de Blasio Administration reminds New Yorkers that as of now, this proposed rule is not in effect and no rules regarding who is legally eligible for public benefits have changed. City agencies—including the Department of Social Services, the primary agency responsible for administering public benefits—are continuing to accept applications for benefits from all New Yorkers in need and are continuing to manage cases for all New Yorkers who are eligible for benefits. The City remains committed to sharing any information regarding this proposed rule with all New Yorkers as it becomes available.

The Administration also encourages New Yorkers who think they might be potentially impacted by this proposed rule not to make any decisions regarding participation in public benefits programs until they have sought advice from a trusted, appropriate source. For additional assistance, New Yorkers can call the New Americans Hotline, operated by Catholic Charities, at 1-800-566-7636 from 9 A.M. to 8 P.M, Monday to Friday. To schedule a free consultation with a trusted immigration legal services provider, New Yorkers can call the "ActionNYC" hotline at 1-800-354-0365 from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M., Monday to Friday. Additional information is also available at NYC.gov/PublicCharge.

The City of New York has long-standing policies in place to protect the privacy of our clients and the confidentiality of client information pursuant to Federal, State and Local Law.

"Denying more people a shot at the American dream over factors beyond their control is un-American, and I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio and my colleagues in government on this serious issue that affects many New Yorkers," said State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

"What the Trump administration is doing with redefining "public charge" goes against American morals. We are a nation of immigrants, and we should protect immigrants and ensure that their ability to become legal residents does not become jeopardized solely due to seeking assistance to merely survive," said State Senator Jamaal Bailey.

"As the State Senator of a district with a diverse immigrant population and as New Yorker, I cannot sit idly by while the Trump administration continues to advance policies that seek to curtail our immigrant communities' rights," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "The proposed changes to the public charge rule make it abundantly clear that this administration does not only want to limit legal immigration, but that it is willing to do so by targeting the most vulnerable among us. This is the time to honor our State's long-standing history of embracing our immigrant roots and communities, and we must not remain silent."

"The Trump administration's proposal to expand the public charge rule is yet another cruel attack on our immigrant neighbors. A person's demonstrated need for help in order to survive should compel us to welcome them into the U.S., rather than turn them away. With the federal government threatening to further expand its discriminatory immigration policy, it is all the more important for state and city governments to reject it. In New York, we need to act swiftly to protect immigrants (and intended immigrants) through the courts and through the legislature. We need to continue to ensure that our city and state agencies are not collecting—or sharing with ICE or USCIS—the immigration status of people applying for public benefits," said State Senator-elect Julia Salazar.

"As an immigrant whose family was once dependent on these vital social services, I fully denounce the 'public charge' rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security. Forcing families to forgo services that they desperately need, at times when they are likely most vulnerable, will have a devastating impact on our society, and cannot be tolerated. We must come together to protect all of our community members to ensure that their most basic needs are met," said Assembly Member-elect Catalina Cruz.

"I am very pleased that my colleagues in state and local government have been steadfast in their commitment to continually disseminate correct information to their constituents on the proposed rule changes on the "public charge" test. I am hopeful that the Trump administration will change course and rescind this potentially disastrous and remorseless policy," said Assembly Member Michael DenDekker.

"This is yet another attack by the Trump administration on our immigrant communities," said Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez. "For generations, people have come to this country to seek a better life. We cannot allow hate tactics and discrimination to deprive them of that."

"President Trump's decision to expand the public charge rule is nothing but his Administration's latest attack on human dignity. To even think of denying families the resources they need to be successful, to make everyday life harder for some of the most vulnerable, is unconscionable and will only serve to directly harm families and children," said Assembly Member Dan Quart. "This is not who we are as New Yorkers and it's not who we are as Americans."

"It is not surprising that the Trump administration wants to force people to choose between accessing vital benefits and applying for a visa or a green card. This administration, instead of helping people that need it the most, puts roadblocks along their way. This proposed rule change will lead to more poverty and will have a devastating effect on our economy. Unfortunately, we have already seen individuals forgoing participation in vital nutritional and other public benefit programs. I have submitted a comment on behalf of the City Council calling on the federal government to reconsider this harmful proposal because I know it is in the best interests of this city," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

"Too often when it comes to federal immigration policy, we imagine ourselves powerless to act. But if my time in the City Council has taught me anything, it is that we can protect New Yorkers from an immigration system that has metastasized into an arbitrary and capricious deportation machine," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Immigration Chair. "We've passed some of the strongest sanctuary laws in the country. Created a fund so that detained New Yorkers have access to a lawyer. And now we have helped mobilize one of the greatest public comment drives in the country. I am proud to see the Mayor's Office and Council submit comments opposing the proposed public charge rule.

"The Trump administration's proposed change to the 'public charge' rules not only represents a threat to nearly half a million immigrant New Yorkers, but to our entire economy," said Council Member Mark Levine, Health Chair. "This action is as heartless and draconian as anything the Trump administration has done. Our city can and must act locally to remedy this dangerous situation, to ensure that every New Yorker—regardless of immigration status—receives essential health care."
"The devastating and cruel impact this proposed rule would have on our communities cannot be overstated," said Council Member Stephen Levin, General Welfare Chair. "Programs like SNAP and Medicaid are essential services that lift families out of poverty and help every New Yorker have a fair chance to succeed. This action would force families to decide whether to access basic health care and services they are legally entitled to -- having to choose between the wellbeing of their family or getting a green card. No one should be punished for taking care of their family."

"The new rule will force families to decide between accessing benefits for which they are lawfully eligible and adversely affecting their immigration progress. Just the news alone of this potential change has stoked fears in immigrant communities causing families to forgo access to SNAP, Housing Assistance, Medicaid and Medicare Part D. We cannot turn our backs on the most vulnerable among us at this time in our history. That is the not what our city, state or country stands for," said Council Member Justin Brannan.

"The proposed Public Charge Rule takes us in the wrong direction. Preventing non-citizen immigrants from obtaining green cards if they are using public benefits hurts everyone in both the short and long term. To assume that this will save taxpayer dollars is both incorrect and cruel. Forcing children to go hungry or to miss immunizations, or for any person to be without food, housing or medical care does not promote self-sufficiency – it only forces more people into poverty and suffering. This is mean-spirited and wrong-headed policy and I'm joining with others in a spirit of justice and compassion to fight this rule," said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

"The proposed Public Charge rule will target middle class and working class immigrants and is antithetical to the promise of America," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "Already we are seeing the impact of this cruel proposal as panic gripped many immigrants, especially the Asian Americans community, which already experiences a disproportionate public benefit enrollment gap. We cannot allow our country to be one that places a price tag on the parents working towards a better future for their children, the senior seeking to age with dignity, or the young person hoping to start their life in a new country."

"The Trump Administration's proposed rule to expand the public charge is another blatant attack on our immigrant communities!," said Council Member Andrew Cohen. "To prevent any immigrants from receiving a green card or visa because they use certain government benefits or because they are thought to possibly need assistance down the road is a completely unethical and racist practice. For the President to continually target our most vulnerable New Yorkers and U.S. citizens is a disgusting and shameful act that NYC will not condone. I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio, my colleagues in government, and our local immigrant communities in condemning the Trump Administration's proposed action."

"New York City stands with its immigrant communities, because we would not be the most impactful city in the most impactful country without them," said Council Member Costa Constantinides. "The proposed change to the public charge rule is just another shameful attempt by the Trump administration to undo the very foundation of the United States. I am proud to stand with our vibrant, hardworking immigrant communities against these oppressive policies. No person, in 2018, should have to choose between citizenship and asking for help." 

"I strongly urge all New Yorkers to submit a comment on the Trump administration's public charge rule proposal," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "This proposed rule would put the lives of thousands of immigrant families in jeopardy. It is simply immoral to force anyone to choose between housing, food, healthcare and their immigration status. We must fight back by demonstrating a united front against this dangerous and spiteful proposal."

"The "public charge" rule unfairly targets millions of immigrants around the country, many of whom are on the pathway to citizenship. New York City thrives on the many hardworking immigrants who contribute to our economy, our culture, and our community. If this rule goes into effect, thousands of immigrant New Yorkers will suffer unnecessarily. I implore the Trump administration not to adopt this draconian policy. Citizenship should not be determined by arbitrary factors beyond someone's control," said Council Member Rafael Espinal.

"Members of our immigrant communities are hardworking people who have dedicated their lives to building New York City's infrastructure. These are valuable individuals, each of whom has come to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. Despite their dedication, many of these workers struggle to provide for themselves and their families. As a government, we should be supporting them and not depriving them of medical resources for which they are legally eligible. It is not right when families are forced to choose between receiving healthcare and maintaining their legal immigration status. I want to commend the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for their advocacy on this very important issue, and it is my hope that by working together we can continue to provide our immigrants residents with the critical resources they need," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

"The new 'public charge' rule that the Trump administration has proposed would penalize an immigrant seeking a green card or legal status for accessing Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and other critical resources that allow low-income people to survive in our country. This proposal is a blatant ignorance and unprecedented overhaul of our current immigration system. We are a nation that should be fighting for a more inclusive and empathetic America, not disqualifying and discouraging health care access for our immigrants. This new public charge rule would not only cost our economy about $164 billion a year, but would affect millions of New Yorkers by reducing access to health care, worsen health outcomes, reducing participation in nutrition programs, and increase housing instability. We must continue to fight against these scare tactics by our Federal Administration and demonstrate that there is no place for bigotry in this country," said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

"The proposed 'public charge' rule would create a breakdown in trust between hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and their government. The attempt to force families to choose between access to healthcare or other critical benefits and legal residency is not only dangerous—it is immoral," said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik.

"The Trump administration's efforts to use family size, income and health information to prevent immigrants from ever becoming green card holders and eventually U.S. citizens is just another ploy to keep minorities down and pander to his far-right base," said Council Member Ben Kallos."New York City owes its greatness to generations of immigrants; we are all here in America as the result of the intrepidness and fearlessness our immigrant ancestors. There should be no change in America's long-standing policy of allowing individuals to apply for assistance."

"It certainly is a heartless action by the current administration in Washington to propose to place an immigrant in a position of knowing that by applying for assistance that will help feed his/her family, or to provide decent living quarters for one's family, that such an application will clearly carry with it a negative connotation when their application for permanent residence or citizenship is going to be reviewed," said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

"The Trump Administration's proposed public charge rule is a cruel and callous attack against immigrants that runs counter to our country's values. No one should have to choose between their immigration status and meeting the basic necessities needed to live. New York City is proudly a city of immigrants, and we will continue to fight back against this shameful proposal," said Council Member Rory Lancman.

"New York City stands firmly against this horrific proposed rule that would force immigrants to choose between meeting their basic needs and living and working in the United States, a choice no one should have to make," said Council Member Brad Lander. "We in New York City know and embrace the fact that we are a nation of immigrants. We benefit from diverse voices, diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences. It is what makes us strong. And it is why we will not sit quietly in the face of another cruel and racist policy from the Trump Administration. We will fight it with everything we have."

"The White House has shown it will stop at nothing to intimidate our immigrant communities, and we refuse to let it carry out this plot to deny them legal paths of entry into the country without a fight," said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus co-chair. "We can only hope that this blatant attempt to use the Public Charge rule to further constrain those who seek to come to America and fulfill their promise will be thwarted by our collaborative efforts to heighten the public's awareness and encourage them to become politically engaged in opposing this hateful scheme."

"The Trump administration's proposed expansion of the 'public charge' test is yet another shameless assault on legal immigration. It will force families to do a cruel immigration-calculus, weighing the use of public benefits — which they are legally entitled to — against the consequences it could have on their immigration applications. Some lawful immigrants are already reportedly doing this math and 'self-purging' from programs like SNAP and Medicaid for fear it will hurt their chances of renewing a green card or a relative's a visa application. If adopted, this policy will touch every U.S. resident, regardless of where they were born. It will lead to a rise in homelessness, hungry children and overburdened food pantries. And it will make the country sicker as people delay doctor's visits and increasingly relying on emergency rooms, which will invariably prompt insurance providers to hike the cost of premiums. This is one more brick in the wall the president is building to cut off the U.S. from the world and from the ideals that have guided real patriots for generations. The good news is, we can stop it. Let this administration know during the public comment period that we refuse to be party to this attack on immigrants," said Council Member Francisco Moya.

"Immigrant communities are increasingly under attack across the United States. As a city of immigrants, New York cannot stand for erroneous process changes for those looking to seek a better life here. We are not a city of complacency to the policies of the Trump Administration and I am glad to work with many officials who stand up against these corrupt proposals," said Council Member Keith Powers.

"For decades, the United States of America has served as a haven and refuge for immigrants and immigrant families," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. "The Trump administration's proposed 'Public Charge' test is a glaring affront to the strong immigrant communities upon which our nation was founded and would threaten thousands of families throughout New York City and millions nationally. As New Yorkers, we must take a stand against such bigoted policies and in defense of our nation's immigrants."

"The Trump administration's proposed rule to expand the 'public charge' test would be devastating to the health and well-being of our families and our communities," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "Immigrants seeking to become permanent residents through our legal process should not be deterred or punished for seeking critical resources. This backdoor immigration ban on working and middle class families is un-American and will only serve to hurt our country and those who seek a better life while contributing to our economy and society."

"As an immigrant, I strongly reject the public charge rule as this represents another attempt to vilify and further disenfranchise immigrants. Immigrants are the backbone of this nation. The United States was founded as a nation of immigrants united by justice, liberty and religious and cultural freedom for all. Immigrants help keep our economy thriving, contribute to our workforce and pay taxes just as all citizens of the United States are required to do. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, between 50 percent and 75 percent of undocumented immigrants pay federal, state, and local taxes. Undocumented immigrants are estimated to pay in about $7 billion per year into Social Security. The contributions made by immigrants are endless to our nation and as such this rule is an unjust and unfair persecution of a sect of people that goes against the Constitutional laws that built this country," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

"As they have for generations, immigrants come to this country to seek the opportunity to work and build better lives for their children and grandchildren. These proposed public charge rules from Washington are a direct threat to their health and well-being—in fact, to the health and well-being of all of us. This proposal is hypocritical, short-sighted, and I urge my constituents to join me in raising their voices against these proposed rules," said Council Member Deborah Rose.

"The Trump Administration's current proposal to drastically expand the "public charge" test for immigrants is an outrage. As the Fiscal Policy Institute has documented, many residents of this country—native-born and immigrants—utilize the programs to which the Administration now seeks to restrict access. These programs, to a large degree, are designed to help low-wage workers and their children obtain access to healthcare, avoid homelessness, have enough to eat, and avoid financial catastrophe. Discouraging immigrant families -- who pay sales and other taxes -- from using these programs ultimately places them more at risk, which impacts all of us. Perhaps even more important, this proposal flies in the face of this country's historic commitment to welcoming immigrants who, in turn, help to build our economy and the richness of our society," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women.

"Many Americans or their families started out relying on critical assistance programs while building a life and becoming valuable contributors to American society. This is just the latest in the Trump Administration's continued targeting of our vulnerable immigrant population. It is critical that we speak out together and reject this divisive proposed policy that undermines the very essence of what this nation stands for," said Council Member Mark Treyger.

"The Trump administration has been seeking to otherize and harm immigrant communities in every way it can – now it wants to force families to choose between providing for their families and seeking legal status. This rule would do incredible harm to people across the city and nation, and unfortunately this is the bigoted intent of this White House," said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

"The proposed changes to the 'public charge' rule are another attempt by the federal administration to intimidate and oppress our immigrant communities," said Angela Fernandez, Esq., Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. "We stand with the city in its opposition to the proposed changes, because no one should have to choose between a path to permanent residency or receiving critical healthcare."

"Trump's public charge proposal would force New Yorkers to choose between their well-being and immigration status – an impossible choice to make. All New Yorkers must fight back and preserve our city's commitments to healthy and stable communities, said Claudia Calhoon, Senior Director of Immigrant Integration Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition.

"At AAFE's neighborhood offices, where we serve almost 9,000 immigrants and low-income residents, we are witnessing the harmful effects of the Trump administration's misguided public charge proposal," said Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, co-executive directors of Asian Americans for Equality. "Even though this proposal has not yet taken effect, immigrant families are already fearful about asking for help, enrolling in benefits, and disenrolling from benefits that many of them have a right to receive. The proposal is devoid of merit and morality, creating a 'pay-to-play' system while depriving immigrants of the food and medical care they need to thrive in our communities. We urge the withdrawal of this inhumane proposal to divide our nation and undermine our values as a nation of immigrants."

"By expanding the definition of 'Public Charge,' the Trump Administration is making it more difficult for the newest New Yorkers to stand on their own feet and support their families and communities. The City of New York's extensive submission to the Federal Registry details just how damaging this proposed Federal regulation would be. Like this Administration's failed 'Zero Tolerance' policy, these proposed regulation changes on 'Public Charge' would bring our country closer to those mean-spirited regimes in other parts of the world that we have always claimed to hate. We cannot let that happen," said The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of New York.

 "The Trump Administration's proposed public charge regulation change is yet another example of the administration's attack on low income immigrants. This rule will force families to decide between accessing vital health and nutrition programs or keeping their families together. Make the Road New York submitted comments as an organization against the proposed regulation change and also helped hundreds of immigrant community members translate and submit their own comments showing the detrimental impact of the proposed rule on their families. Due to the complexity of the rule, it is important that individuals who think that they could potentially be at risk of being a public charge consult with an advocate or attorney at a community based organization for assistance. Individuals should continue accessing key public benefits for now since this is still a proposal and the rule has not gone into effect yet," said Rebecca Telzak, Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York.

"By targeting public benefits that improve the economic wellbeing of immigrant communities with the proposed changes to the Public Charge rule, the Trump Administration is clearly trying to discourage families from applying for or continuing to enroll in services they are entitled to receive," said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses, the association of 42 settlement houses that reaches over 765,000 New Yorkers annually. "Settlement houses will continue to help community members access essential services like public housing, Section 8 Vouchers, SNAP, and Medicaid. We strongly urge the administration to drop the proposed rule changes and maintain existing standards that protect immigrants from discrimination."

"The proposed Public Charge rule changes have propagated a culture of fear that keeps immigrants from accessing services that keep them healthy and on the path to success. We are already hearing from clients in our programs who are fearful of accessing these services because of the proposed rule. This harmful proposal, if it stands, will have long-term negative impacts on our communities for generations to come," said Judy Zangwill, executive director, Sunnyside Community Services, on behalf of the Western Queens Immigrant Coalition.

"As an organization committed to upholding our nation's values, the Arab-American Family Support Center stands with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs in opposition to the inhumane and ineffective proposed changes to Public Charge. We will continue to serve and advocate for all immigrants and refugees and urge the administration to do the same," said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President and CEO, Arab-American Family Support Center.

"Our communities continue to be sent messages over and over again that we don't belong here. The Public Charge is yet another one of these messages. It is simply mean-spirited policy and if enacted, will only served to hurt our country as whole. It does not make economic sense, and it is wholly inconsistent with American values," said Annetta Seecharran, Executive Director of Chhaya CDC.

"The proposed changes and expansion of the 'public charge' regulations have been crafted to dissuade immigrants from applying for legal immigration status and from seeking needed benefits for themselves and their families. We work very hard every day to encourage and assist all immigrants to apply for immigration, citizenship and public benefits. Those who come to us are already very fearful of engaging with government entities. This proposed rule needlessly upends current standards which have existed for over the last twenty years," said Siobhan Dennehy, Executive Director of Emerald Isle Immigration Center.

"We estimate that there are about 60,000 Nepali-speaking immigrants in the New York City. Adhikaar represents and serves over 5,000 new immigrants and low wage workers including domestic workers, nail salon workers, restaurant workers and gas station workers. Our members serve the basic needs of our society, and are often underpaid and abused. Medicaid or no cost health insurance and SNAP help our community rise out of poverty. If the current Public Charge proposal is passed, our members will be forced to choose between public benefit needed to survive and support their families OR be eligible for permanent residency and stay in this country. This is not a decision that anyone should have to make. To restrict what types of immigrants are eligible to apply for Green Cards says that there is a 'good immigrant' and a 'bad immigrant' which is racist and simply wrong. The current Public Charge proposal was concocted out of radical anti-immigrant think tanks promoting a racist agenda, and is not what will benefit our society. We must work together as New York to stop the proposed Public Charge policies," said Pabitra Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar.

"The Public Charge proposal is an affront to our City's values and its diversity," said Angela Pinsky, Executive Director of the Association for a Better New York.  "These shortsighted and heartless restrictions on individuals seeking access to basic services will only increase costs in the long run, while driving vulnerable populations further underground.  We stand with the City of New York in urging the federal government to reconsider this malicious and harmful rule change."

"Our country—and New York City—benefit when we attract the best and brightest to our shores, and we can only do that when immigrants actually feel welcome here," said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC. "Instead, the Trump administration's proposal will force immigrants to choose between basic necessities and the possibility of adverse immigration action, sending the wrong message and hampering countless immigrants' ability to prosper. America has always been a nation of idealistic builders, who opens its doors to the next generation of entrepreneurial individuals. This is the best of the United States, and something we should foster, not throw away." 

"The proposed rule change would make it more difficult and much less predictable to extend the status of highly skilled workers here on H-1B visas," said Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. "It would exacerbate the current skills shortage (particularly in the tech sector) and ultimately be a drag on local economic growth and job creation."

"This is a direct attack on hardworking immigrants – and a fundamental repudiation of the American spirit of compassion and welcome inscribed in the Statue of Liberty. If enacted, the rule would also slam the economy. Even the Trump administration admits that, if enforced, this cruel new guideline would also harm hospitals, landlords, grocery stores, and farmers by limiting immigrants' use of Medicaid, nutrition benefits, and federally-funded housing. Moreover, it would force immigrants to stay in the shadows, making it even tougher for them to enter the economic mainstream," said Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America.

"Our country was founded by immigrants pursuing a dream of a better life. The changes to Public Charge proposed by the current Administration are designed to impede the immigration process and prevent our newest residents from achieving this American dream. NMIC stands firmly with HRA and all New York City agencies to support our immigrant families during these trying times, as we have for nearly 40 years," said Maria Lizardo, Executive Director, NMIC.

"The New York Women's Foundation stands with immigrants and their families. People should never have to choose between their immigration status and the ability to access healthcare, nutrition, and housing programs for which they are legally eligible. The federal government's proposed changes to public charge rules would have a disproportionate effect on women, children, and working and middle class immigrant families. We have a moral imperative to protect immigrant families and resist discriminatory policies that will do irreparable harm," said Ana L. Oliveira, President & CEO of The New York Women's Foundation.

"The proposed changes to the public charge rule are yet another thinly veiled tactic to unfairly target immigrant communities and force them into the shadows. At a basic human level, the proposed regulation is cruel. It would place countless immigrants—parents, providers, children, our elders, those with disabilities—in untenable positions by penalizing them for receiving needed public benefits that assist in meeting basic human necessities such as food, housing and medical care. It is also unlawful, would be impossible to implement, and runs contrary to our fundamental American values. We at the New York Legal Assistance Group believe in a humane immigration system, and we strongly urge the administration promptly to withdraw the proposed rule," said Beth Goldman, President & Attorney-in-Charge of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG).

"As a foundation that has invested tens of millions of dollars in services for immigrants who make up more than one-third of New York City's population, The New York Community Trust opposes the proposed rule on public charge. It would roll back decades of philanthropic investment to increase immigrant families' access to health and social services, reduce economic and educational disparities  among immigrant populations, and help immigrants integrate into the city's civic and economic life," said Lorie Slutsky, President, The New York Community Trust.

"The Trump administration's proposed change to the definition of "public charge" is a direct attack on poor and immigrant communities," stated Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA. "Should this proposed rule change be finalized, it could have devastating effects on immigrant families, forcing many to forego critical services and programs they or their families may need for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status. However, there's still time to make our voices heard and demand that this proposed egregious rule change be dismissed. The public comment period closes tonight, and we encourage all who oppose this rule change to submit a comment. Our words have the power to change lives."

"Mobilization for Justice opposes the proposed public charge rule as yet another attack against immigrants.  It will adversely affect already vulnerable populations, and will disproportionately affect people of color. We know from our work with immigrants that this policy will harm immigrants by undermining access to health, nutrition, and shelter to immigrants and their families at a time when they can least afford these additional pressures." Jeanette Zelhof, Executive Director, Mobilization for Justice, Inc.

"The harm to be wrought by the Proposed Rule goes beyond our identity as a country. The Proposed Rule already has and will continue to make immigrant families even more fearful of accessing the critical government benefits for which Congress made them eligible, and thereby devastate the health and economic security of individuals and families and the communities we all share," said Hasan Shafiqullah, Attorney-in-Charge, Immigration Law Unit, The Legal Aid Society.

"Legal Services NYC submitted comments that make clear that the proposed Public Charge regulations would have a devastating impact on the clients that we serve – in particular, children with special needs, people with chronic illnesses, our HIV+ affected clients, and both non-citizens and U.S. citizens who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits," said Raun Rasmussen, Executive Director of Legal Services NYC. "Rather than abating poverty and increasing our nation's economic health, the proposed rule will increase food insecurity and housing instability and detrimentally impact New York City's public health gains."

"No one should have to fear seeking essential services like healthcare because of their immigration status. At Services for the UnderServed, we see firsthand the difficulties many New Yorkers face in receiving life-saving resources like housing and treatment. Changes to 'public charge' rules could create even more barriers to health and wellbeing for some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in our city. We join the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs in opposition to these proposed changes," said Trish Marsik, Chief Operating Officer, Services for the UnderServed Inc.