On May 3, Reuters reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) drafted a proposed rule that would make it easier to deport U.S. legal permanent residents who use public benefits. Current law does not allow the government to deport someone just for using public programs for which they qualify to receive. While the DOJ has not released the proposed regulation yet, this appears to be another effort by the Trump administration to target the stability and health of legal immigrant families and people with low-incomes.
The report of this new regulation follows the recent “public charge” change proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last September which would threaten access to basic needs programs—like food, medical, and housing assistance—for approximately 26 million people nationwide. In a statement, Legal Council stated “We are disappointed but hardly surprised at the news that the Department of Homeland Security has posted a draft of a new rule that would make using health, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, or affordable housing programs a disqualifier for remaining lawfully in the U.S.. The rule would force thousands of Illinois families to make an unthinkable choice—healthcare or lawful permanent status—and make Illinois sicker, hungrier, and poorer.”
Legal Council and other advocates are closely following the new rule reported by Reuters and we will keep you updated on next steps.
Legal Council for Health Justice uses the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity, and well-being for people facing barriers due to illness and disability. All programs partner with health and hospital systems to train and support the care provider network, provide direct representation to referred patients, and conduct systemic advocacy to promote health equity among populations facing chronic, disabling, and stigmatizing health and social conditions. www.legalcouncil.org