Tri-Caucus and CPC Press Conference Opposing Proposed Public Charge Rule

Washington, DC — Today, Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) held a press conference opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed public charge rule. In October 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  proposed a  rule expanding the definition of public charge to make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards or adjust their status if they use benefits such as Medicaid, housing assistance, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27) led the press conference, during which she announced the introduction of her bill, the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, which would prohibit federal funds from being used to implement the proposed public charge rule if it is finalized. Other speakers included: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), former Congressman Mike Honda, representing the One Nation Campaign, and Marielena Hincapié, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center. Tri-Caucus Members issued the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Cruelty has been at the heart of Donald Trump’s immigration agenda, and there is no better example than his proposed Public Charge rule which would penalize immigrants for accessing benefits they are legally entitled to, forcing on them the false choice or taking care of their family’s immediate needs or having a future in America. This makes life harder for immigrants and such cruelty has no place in our policies. Further, benefits like SNAP are actually proven at reducing poverty and improving future achievement. But with this rule change, Trump is trying to stigmatize the program – and others like it – so that immigrants will be afraid to use it. If this rule goes into effect, it will have a devasting impact on 26 million people, including many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Immigrants are our neighbors and co-workers, and play a vital role in our communities. This proposed rule is callous, xenophobic, and works against the interests of our nation. That is why I am proud to say that 36 other members of the house joined me in working to stop Trump’s attempt to weaponize federal policy in his hateful war on immigrants by introducing the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act. ”

Congressman Barbara Lee (CA-13), CAPAC Healthcare Taskforce Chair, CPC Chair Emeritus, and CBC Member:

“The proposed public charge rule makes it near impossible for immigrants to receive a green card if the Department of Homeland Security considers them likely to use public assistance and that is wrong. This country was built and continues to stand on the strength of immigrants. From Silicon Valley to our neighborhood convenience stores, immigrants contribute to and improve the quality of life for themselves and all of us and should be able to use social services when they need it just like every other person in the country.  Our immigrant communities are not a drain on America or our economy, but an investment in our future.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), CHC Whip:

“This ill-intentioned rule attempts to keep immigrants from accessing programs vital to supporting their families, and in doing so fails to uphold the values of our nation and will force individuals to choose between putting food on the table for their children and being granted legal status. If we cut off vital support for immigrant families, they will not have the means to grow and succeed as immigrant families have done throughout the history of this country. That is not who we are.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09), CBC Immigration Task Force Chair:

“I push back on this xenophobic, racist, bullying Trump administration and their proposed dehumanizing public charge policies—our immigrant friends and neighbors deserve better. As a second-generation Jamaican-American, I know how immigrants add to the beautiful tapestry of America. I will always stand up for immigrants despite Donald Trump and his ‘Trumpettes’ degrading them as human beings, because I believe in immigrants and still believe in the American dream.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Taking away life-saving essential programs for immigrants and their children would be callous and despicable. As a nation enriched by our immigrant communities, we must continue to support their access to basic necessities. I have sent letters to the administration urging them to rescind the proposed rule and spoken out against it. It is inhumane to punish law-abiding immigrants from accessing critical safety net programs like SNAP, housing assistance, and Medicaid – benefits to which they are legally entitled. I will continue to fight against this ugly proposed rule.”

###

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.