Immigrants Should Not Be Penalized

November 19, 2018
By Avi Rose

Today, JFCS East Bay is submitting a public comment expressing our firm opposition to a proposed federal rule that would penalize legal immigrants who access public benefits and services. You can find the full text of our comment here.

The “Public Charge” rule would change how U.S. immigration officials decide who is likely to be primarily dependent on the government to meet their basic needs. Being deemed a public charge can impact an immigrant’s ability to secure a visa or lawful permanent resident status. The new proposed rule would broaden the definition of public charge to include accessing multiple vital government support programs, including health care, food security, and housing subsidies. By intention, the new rule will undoubtedly deter many eligible people from accessing these supports.

The Department of Homeland Security is soliciting public comments about this proposed new rule until December 10. We strongly encourage you to join us in submitting your own comment. This week, many of us will gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving. We invite you to take this opportunity to express your gratitude for your blessings, and pay them forward to the current generation of immigrants.

Your comment does not have to be technical; it can simply express your own concern for the health and well-being of our country’s immigrants. We’ve created a sample comment for you to consider, hoping that you’ll personalize and submit it here.

Sample Public Comment
I am writing as a citizen concerned about the well-being of immigrants and of our entire community, strongly opposed to DHS’s proposed Public Charge rule. I believe that immigrants should not be penalized for using essential services that support their quest to build healthy and successful lives in our community, free from fear and deprivation. I am particularly concerned with how this rule will ultimately affect children’s access to food, health care, and housing. [Here, you could add references to how your stance reflects your own Jewish/humanitarian values as well as your own family’s immigration history and how they received help along the way to succeed.] Please count me among the large number of Americans who are firmly opposed to the Public Charge rule.