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MFV and Latino Leaders Rebuke Trump’s Public Charge Expansion

08.21.2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Karina Martinez at karinam@mifamiliavota.org

 

MFV and Latino Leaders Rebuke Trump’s Public Charge Expansion

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) rebukes the Trump administration for its issuance of a final rule to expand the number of immigrants who would be classified as a public charge – a rule that would punish immigrants for using necessary public benefit programs by denying them the ability to obtain a green card.

 NHLA, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw the final regulation in its entirety. The Trump administration announced that it will move forward to add more life-saving public benefit programs to the public charge list, thereby expanding the number of people who would be ineligible for lawful permanent residence. This unlawful final rule is targeted toward penalizing low-income Latino families and would further devastate the U.S. immigration system by favoring wealthy green-card applicants.

 “This revised ‘public charge’ rule is an abject betrayal of our nation’s history and core principles; we have thrived through admitting immigrants regardless of income or wealth because these immigrants – as all immigrants today — have come with strength, resilience, ingenuity, and ambition,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel.  “There remain many flaws in our immigration system, including ongoing discriminatory treatment of Latinx immigrants and potential immigrants; this rule exacerbates, rather than ameliorates, those flaws.”

  “El Paso, the ICE raids and now the public charge final rule—it could not be clearer that white nationalists are terrorizing our immigrant communities and driving White House policies to make life unbearable for hard-working black and brown immigrant families in this country,” said Jessica González-Rojas, NHLA Vice-Chair and Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Make no mistake—the public charge rule is a litmus test to say if you’re not wealthy and white, you are not welcome here.”

 “This weaponization of public benefits to immigrants in dire need is in line with the hateful policies that cage children, and the hate speech that incites violence against our community,” said Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO, MANA, A National Latina Organization and NHLA Treasurer. “The dehumanization and threatening of poor immigrants will not stand and we will continue to fight this hatred at every turn.”

 “Latinos drive the economy,” said Dora Gonzales, National Chairwoman, American GI Forum. “They have construction, semi-skilled labor, and service-industry skills for employment that the majority isn’t willing to undertake.”

 “The Trump Administration’s unconscionable rule will treat farmworkers’ low wages and lack of employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance, as negative factors in considering whether to grant them immigration status despite their hard, dangerous jobs and their valuable role in our nation,” said Bruce Goldstein, President, Farmworker Justice. “The agricultural industry’s low pay and lack of fringe benefits will be used against farmworkers seeking immigration status, even if they have no intention of using public benefits.” 

“Latinos with a $1.7 trillion dollar buying power are an asset to the U.S. economy,” said Ana Marie Argilagos, Hispanics in Philanthropy, President and CEO. “The proposed rule is nothing more than a fear tactic targeting immigrant families and further dividing the country on the basis of race and socioeconomic status.”

 “DHS’ new public charge rule will radically transform our immigration system, where only the wealthy from favored nations will be allowed entry, and green cards will be limited to the highest bidder,” said Jose Perez, Deputy General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Our nation derives its vitality from its racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity and this new rule poses a massive threat to the heart of our city and nation.”

 “This regulation is part of President Trump’s sweeping policy to slow down legal migration, and one of his many scare tactics and politically motivated attacks to target immigrant communities,” said Sindy Benavides, Chief Executive Officer, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “It’s time we stop demonizing vulnerable families and their children. It’s time this administration realizes that locking children in cages, making disparaging comments about Hispanic Latinos and now forcing parents to turn down basic necessities like food, housing, and healthcare out of fear is un-American and immoral. Ultimately, no family should be forced to decide between accepting help and living and working in this country legally. We will not stand for this cruel new weapon and are committed to fighting to ensure immigrants have the tools they need to succeed in this country.”

 “President Trump continues to strategically draft policies that harm our communities and defy American values,” said Gabriela Lemus, Board President, Mi Familia Vota Educational Fund. “While the new rules citing public charge are cynically intended to preclude those seeking to come or remain in the United States – using legal avenues – from accessing the American Dream, Mi Familia Vota will continue our work to ensure that the contributions of immigrants and Latinos are recognized in our country and that our communities are able to adjust their immigration status, regardless of their current socio-economic backgrounds.”

 “The National Hispanic Medical Association considers this Administration’s public charge rule to be inhumane – for the first time denying food and housing programs to hardworking immigrant families,” said Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association.

 “Is there no end as to how un-American we can become? Hispanics, including immigrants, probably pay more in taxes and get less in return than any ethnic or racial group in America,” said Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., President, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Inc. “There is no need for this Administration to continue to prove how much more it can do to hurt the hardest working tax-payers that were not born in this country- while many US-born citizens make millions or billions and pay no taxes.”

 

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Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Mi Familia Vota has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.