AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

DHS Rule Will Hurt Working Class Families and Restrict Legal Immigration

8/12/19 AILA Doc. No. 19081232.
George Tzamaras
Tessa Wiseman

Washington, DC - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted for public inspection in the Federal Register a final "public charge" rule that will dramatically expand the number of immigrants that DHS could deem ineligible for green cards and admission to the United States on account of income level and prior use of certain public benefits. The rule will be officially released on August 14, 2019 and will take effect 60 days later.

AILA President Marketa Lindt said, "This sweeping rule will threaten the ability of many immigrants to seek out the basic resources to which they are entitled and that they need to thrive in the United States. Already, the proposed version of the rule has exerted a chilling effect on families throughout the country who chose to forgo essential services to avoid the risk of imperiling their immigration status. The final version of this rule will further escalate their fear. Working class immigrants are a vital part of our shared prosperity and have contributed to this nation since its inception. This rule will not only punish individuals for seeking basic needs and put families at risk of separation - it will do irreparable harm to American businesses and communities by erecting additional barriers to applicants that will ultimately bar potential contributors from their chance at the American dream."

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, "This rule represents one of the most harmful components yet in the Trump administration's "invisible wall" - a far-reaching set of policies and practices restricting legal immigration to and in the United States. The rule could needlessly prevent vast numbers of hardworking, law-abiding individuals in the United States from obtaining green cards, while shutting aspiring immigrants from around the world out of the American dream. This regulation will also exacerbate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)'s already crisis-level case backlog by requiring adjudicators to apply a complex and nebulous legal standard while processing hundreds of thousands of new, time-intensive forms annually. In issuing this final regulation the administration has largely ignored the concerns and opposition of hundreds of thousands of people and organizations who spoke out against this proposal as an attack on working class families and a harmful effort to impede, rather than facilitate, America's legal immigration system."