Policy changes deeply affect the health of immigrants, as fear of immigration enforcement leads to negative health outcomes and prevents people from accessing necessary health and social services.
Cover All Kids
This bill closes the gaps in coverage and ensures that all children in the Commonwealth regardless of immigration status can access the specific health care services they need to learn and grow.
Do the immigrant children you serve face barriers to accessing health care because they don’t have adequate insurance coverage to cover all the services they need? Please contact Natalie Litton firstname.lastname@example.org at Health Care For All for more information or to share a de-identified story.
In the last year, many policy changes have spread fear in immigrant communities which leads them to avoid seeking care for health conditions and decline necessary essential services to which they are entitled. The Trump Administration seeks to make it even more difficult for immigrant families and their US relatives and citizen children to access necessary services by changing the definition of “public charge.”
In short, people who are applying for visas or green cards to the US need to prove they are not likely to become dependent on the US government in the future. While previously immigration officials only asked whether people had received cash benefits, now health and other benefits may be considered in this determination. If this policy change goes through, immigrant families will be forced to choose between vital services and reuniting with their loved ones. But even worse, the fear created by the policy change will likely cause many more to unenroll from necessary benefits. According to leading experts and published research, the proposal would lead to decreased participation by lawfully present immigrant families in essential services for which they are eligible. Already six major physicians organizations have declared their opposition to the sweeping rule.
Details on the public charge rule change:
Under the proposed new rule, visa or Green Card applicants meeting the criteria below may be denied legal status on the basis of being found a potential “public charge":
Immigrants who earn less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Level ($31,375 for a family of four)
Immigrants who receive non-emergency Medicaid, Housing Assistance, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy or SNAP (food stamps)
Immigrants under 18 or over 61
Anyone with a health condition requiring treatment the affects the applicant's ability to work, attend school or care for themselves, unless they have access to private health insurance or resources to pay for treatment
DHS has also asked for input regarding whether the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) should be included, but it is not included in the proposed regulatory text
Some immigrants will not be affected, like refugees and asylees or those on special visas for victims of crime or domestic violence.
Profiles of some of the individuals who will be harmed by this proposed rule can be read here
There are 2 main points to remember.
1) Nothing has changed. The policy is not yet in effect. The government will need to respond to public comments first, which is why it is important to generate many comments.
2) Keep your benefits! There is no reason to drop benefits at this point. The policy will be forward looking and will also have a 60-day grace period after it takes effect. People should continue to use and apply for benefits.
If you have questions about the rule or to organize a training in your institution, email the local Massachusetts Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign: