For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
Washington, DC – Earlier today, the U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final “public charge” rule, which changes the current standards used to determine legal permanent residence eligibility. The new rule dramatically increases the scope of who would be considered a public charge and thereby excludable, if he or she is likely to depend on government assistance.
According to a statement, the Trump Administration holds that this action will “help ensure that if aliens want to enter or remain in the United States they must support themselves, and not rely on public benefits.”
“Violence does not discriminate,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “If anything, people with disabilities are more likely to require asylum than those without disabilities. This Nation must not shut its doors to people who truly need our protection, regardless of disability.”
These changes in eligibility adversely affect immigrant families with an adult or child with a disability by discouraging enrollment in needed services and housing assistance due to fear that these services might result in a public charge determination and denial of a green card or extended visa. Furthermore, this rule will impact health aides, personal care aides and nursing assistants – a quarter of whom are immigrants.
Currently, DHS considers cash benefits and long-term institutionalization as the best evidence of whether a person is primarily dependent on the government for assistance, and all other benefits are excluded from this determination.
With this new rule, which goes into effect on October 15, 2019, DHS expands the consideration of benefits to include a slew of services commonly used by people with disabilities. The rule effectively places virtually anyone with a significant disability in serious jeopardy of being deemed likely to become a public charge.
“This rule change is unfair and cruel,” continued Decker. “People with disabilities may need public benefits to become self-sufficient contributing members of society. That need shouldn’t land them automatically in an undesirable category.”
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.