Immigrant Rights Groups: Hurting Parents Hurts Children
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MADISON, Wis. - Immigrant rights groups say the Trump administration's proposed rule to deny visas and permanent residency to aspiring immigrants, who've legally accessed public benefits in the past, is cruel.
The proposed regulation from the Department of Homeland Security would expand immigration officers' powers to refuse entry to the U.S. if the immigrants previously received a range of taxpayer-funded benefits such as Medicaid, the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, Section 8 housing vouchers and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
William Parke-Sutherland, health policy engagement coordinator with the advocacy group Kids Forward, says the rule attacks families and hurts children. "You know, this is really going to privilege wealthy families and put them ahead of families that have been waiting years to be reunited," he points out. "This is unfair, it's unhealthy, and it doesn't represent the values that Americans claim to hold."
Parke-Southerland says numerous organizations in the Protecting Immigrant and Families national campaign are waiting for the official rule to be posted to the federal register, which will trigger a 60-day public comment period. The administration's proposal is a departure from current guidelines, which have been in place since 1999 and bars authorities from considering such non-cash benefits in deciding a person's eligibility to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country.
Parke-Southerland says this has long been a goal for President Donald Trump. "The Trump administration has been openly hostile to immigrants, immigrant families, and communities of color throughout the administration, and so this is another attack on that," he states. The changes would apply to those seeking visas or legal permanent residency, but not people applying for U.S. citizenship.