On January 30, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin implementing the new public charge regulations on February 24, 2020 which will allow immigration officials the ability to deny a green card to immigrant applicants if they are in receipt of certain public benefits. First 5 LA and other advocates across the country have opposed the updated rule, arguing that it unfairly penalizes low-income immigrants who rely on temporary assistance from the government. First 5 LA’s Executive Director, Kim Belshé released the following statement in opposition to the ruling, highlighting the negative impact it will have on children, families and our communities:
“When immigrant parents are targeted, their children suffer. This ruling punishes children, families and our communities for seeking federally-funded services they are eligible to access. Regardless of their immigration status or the color of their skin, all children deserve proper nutrition, health care and safety net services essential for their well-being.
“One-third of all U.S. children living in poverty have an immigrant parent, [according to the Migration Policy Institute]. This ruling will have an irreparable impact on immigrants and their families. Instead, we need to support connections to services that strengthen families, not create an environment of fear that will drive families away from the services and supports for which they’re eligible and which are critical to parents’ ability to work and children’s ability to thrive.
“We urge the President and members of Congress to come together to make our immigration system work better for children and their families. America was built with help of the energy, ideas and contributions of people born outside its borders. We must honor that history and move forward as a nation together.”