October 15, 2018
Name of Legislator
Address of Office
Dear Senator/Representative _____ ,
We — the members of the health community in (state) — are writing to you with regard to the recent change in public charge determinations for green card applicants.
Specifically, this policy would make it more difficult for children, the elderly, persons with lower levels of education and/or limited English proficiency, and those with incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level to enter and remain in the United States. The change will cause decreased use of social services among immigrant populations, which are instrumental in obtaining necessary medical services, food, and housing. During immigration and welfare reform changes in the mid-1990s, fear of citizenship denial caused a decline in public service use, from 20% to as high as 60% in some programs. If implemented today, these changes would impact at least 5.4 and up to 16.2 million immigrants. Anti-immigrant policies contribute to decreased utilization of health care and social services such as Medicaid, prenatal care, and food stamps. Health care workers across the country have already reported decreased utilization of health care and other social services among their immigrant patients, citing patients’ fears that utilizing these services will jeopardize their chances of obtaining documentation. Individuals without access to health care, medications, food, and housing have worse health outcomes than their counterparts. Even more, over 19 million - or one in four children - live in a family with an immigrant parent. Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy estimates that 560,000 citizen children will enter into poverty and 240,000 citizen children will enter into deep poverty if non-citizen parents give up non-cash food assistance benefits as a result of these proposed changes. The impact on young children is especially concerning as poor health during childhood both causes immediate negative health outcomes and persistently poor health throughout adulthood. This will exacerbate health disparities in immigrant populations.
We must stand with our immigrants and fight this racist and xenophobic policy. In this vein, we are asking that you:
1) Urge Congressional leadership and colleagues to advocate against this new policy;
2) Galvanize your constituents to take action against this policy by providing accessible information about how to utilize the comment page on regulations.gov
3) Disseminate information to immigrants in our state in multiple languages regarding their rights and access to public programs as this proposed policy is battled;
4) Continue to unite with immigrants and fight against policies that restrict their basic human rights.
Thank you for standing with us.