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New “Public Charge” rule makes the American dream unattainable for working families in Utah

West Valley City, UT - The new “public charge” rule released by the Trump administration restructures the current immigration system to favor wealthy individuals over working families and focuses on restricting legal migration. As proposed, the public charge regulation puts applications for admission to the United States or legal permanent residence in the US at risk for denial if the applicant is an immigrant who uses, or whose family uses, certain public programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”) or “Section 8” rent vouchers.

“The new rule puts wealth and income as the main determining factor of who can come to this country and have access to citizenship,” said Luis Garza, Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas.

“One in nine Utah households struggles to afford enough food. These kinds of policy changes make it that much more difficult for families who need help to access programs. It is unacceptable that families are being discouraged from applying for federal programs like SNAP to which they are entitled,” said Gina Cornia of Utahns Against Hunger.

We are already seeing the chilling effect of this proposed rule, as it discourages families from applying for benefits for which their US citizen children are eligible and that they require for their wellbeing. “We forget that immigrants, including the undocumented, are paying taxes to support these public programs. Families should not have to make a decision between healthcare or food for their children and permanent residency” said Garza.

As a result of the change in the public charge rule, Comunidades Unidas and Utahns Against Hunger have joined the national Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign in order to inform our communities about their rights and fight back against this cruel new policy. We call on Utah elected officials to stand alongside immigrant families and denounce this attack on the health and prosperity of our communities.


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