On December 9, Philanthropy California submitted public comment to oppose the proposed changes to "public charge." The proposed DHS rule would expand the government's ability to deny immigrants permanent residency or visas if they benefit from aid programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and housing assistance programs. As written, these proposed changes inflict significant harm on children and families, depart from longstanding immigration practice related to public charge, and place a new, extraordinary burden on the charitable sector.
Funders in California have made tremendous investments to increase families’ access to health and social services. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, our members have financially supported outreach efforts to enroll eligible persons in Medicaid. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are essential parts of the social safety net that provides lawfully present immigrants access to needed care and protection from high medical costs that support their ability to work.
Furthermore, this loss in coverage would be compounded by reduced participation in other programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, free or reduced-price lunch programs, and the Women Infant and Children’s Program (WIC), which provide essential sources support for many working families.
Finally, the proposed regulations would have adverse effects on the capacity of our sector. As eligible immigrants turn away from legally available Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP benefits, our partners in the nonprofit sector will bear the brunt of the chilling effects of the proposed rule. In turn, nonprofits already grappling with scarce resources will further turn to philanthropy to fill the gap and provide resources for children and families' health and safety.