Pledge to Submit Comments on Public Charge Rule Changes
On October 10, 2018, the federal government published a draft rule that proposes to make radical changes to the existing policies, which previously allowed eligible immigrants to access critical health and nutrition support programs. In short, the new draft rule states that if eligible immigrants use critical health and nutritional programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly, “Food Stamps”), Medicaid, public housing, or Medicare Part D, that the government will use it against them in determining whether they can obtain lawful immigration status.

Further, the proposed rule will hurt immigrant families with low incomes and benefit those with higher earnings. The rule will require the Department of Homeland Security to consider whether an immigrant earns at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and will consider it a negative factor against their application if they do not earn that much. The rule also penalizes those who don’t have a work history outside the home, and those who suffer from health conditions.

The new proposed rule would:

- Force lawfully present immigrants, including pregnant women and children, to choose between accepting critical health or nutritional supports or obtaining their green card.
- Penalize stay-at-home caregivers, the disabled, and many low-wage workers who do not earn at least 125% of the poverty level.
- Create a chilling effect causing many U.S. citizens and family members of immigrants to drop out of benefit programs even though they are not directly impacted by the rule. This chilling effect could extend to at least 530,000 North Carolinians who access one of the identified income supports and have a non-citizen in their home.

"I pledge to submit written comments from North Carolina to the federal government about how proposed changes to the public charge rules will affect my community."

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