Trump policy to be officially published tomorrow will force immigrants to choose between basic needs and being with their families.
RALEIGH, NC, Aug 13, 2019 — North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) strongly opposes the Trump administration’s changes to the “Public Charge” rule, which was unofficially released yesterday. This policy unfairly targets immigrants of color and favors money over family. Last fall, NCAAT was part of a grassroots movement that drew more than 266,000 public comments overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposal of the rule changes.
“AAPI communities are already feeling attacked and threatened with the recent failed push to add the citizenship question to Census 2020. This rule change is yet another assault on immigrant families, forcing them to choose between the things they need, like health and sustenance, and the people they love,” said Chavi Koneru, Executive Director of NCAAT.
The rule changes, slated to be officially published tomorrow and take effect on October 15, would increase the number of immigrants barred from becoming lawful permanent residents based on a broad look of factors that include the use of certain government services, household income, educational level, English proficiency, among others. In doing so, the administration puts money ahead of family, threatens the health of North Carolinian families, and weaponizes health and human services programs against immigrants and their families.
More than 1.5 million AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) immigrants across the nation are in families that use public benefits to feed and sustain their loved ones. In North Carolina, 530,000 people live in a family with at least one non-citizen member and receive one of the income supports identified in the rule; and more than 78,000 AAPIs in the state receive one of the four major public benefits.
“It’s clear from the expanded factors that include educational level and English proficiency that the Trump administration is particularly targeting immigrants of color from non-English speaking countries, like the growing Asian population in North Carolina,” Koneru said.
The factors of educational level and English proficiency will in particular impact AAPI communities. Among Asian Americans in the state, 70% speak a language besides English at home, with more than 42% of whom speak English less than “very well.” Additionally, according to 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) data, less than 70 percent of Laotian, Vietnamese and Hmong Americans in North Carolina had a high school diploma.
The changes have already created an element of fear for immigrant community members, not only dissuading them from seeking needed public benefits, but also dissuading those not directly affected by the rule, such as those applying for citizenship, from using needed public support. Since the majority of immigrants targeted by the rule were already ineligible for public benefits, the biggest impact of this policy will be to create confusion and to prevent immigrant families from seeking or using benefits for basic needs that they are legally permitted to use. NCAAT will continue to work with partners to address this fear and help ensure that community members are informed of what resources are available to them.
“This rule change sends the message to the world that the U.S. values money over family, and that’s the wrong way to build a strong country. Instead, we should focus on fostering a diverse and healthy population, with all families having access to healthcare, food, shelter and other basic needs necessary to thrive,” Koneru said.
Ricky Leung, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, (919) 695-7187, firstname.lastname@example.org
North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to supporting equity and justice for all by fostering community among AAPIs and allies in North Carolina through civic engagement, leadership development, grassroots mobilization and political participation.