President Donald Trump’s proposed “public charge” rule will disproportionately impact the Indian and Bangladeshi communities, especially children, elderly, poor, those with limited English proficiency and those suffering from medical conditions/disabilities, from establishing legal permanent residency in the United States.
The Trump administration has published its proposed changes to the public charge rule, which would penalize immigrants seeking permanent status for using certain public benefits. The draft rule is undoubtedly serious: It discriminates against families, has accelerated a “chilling effect” already hindering program enrollment, and marks the next step in the president’s ongoing immigrant crackdown.
Officials of the Asian American Federation, at a press conference with the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Human Resources Administration, on November 30th, in New York City, shared their concerns about the impact of the new policy by Trump.
The proposed rule will also restrict legal immigration from Asia, along with hurting those who are already living in the US and wish to adjust their status to permanent residency. The public charge rule will have a major impact on South Asian immigrant communities, as more than 10 percent of all green card applicants are from South Asia, as of the years 2016, officials said.
Officials pointed out that nearly 472,000 or 10% of the approximately five million South Asians in the US live in poverty. Among South Asian Americans, Pakistanis (15.8%), Nepali (23.9%), Bangladeshis (24.2%), and Bhutanese (33.3%) had the highest poverty rates. Bangladeshi and Nepali communities have the lowest median household incomes out of all Asian American groups, earning $49,800 and $43,500, respectively.
Nearly 61% of non-citizen Bangladeshi families receive public benefits for at least one of the four federal programs including TANF, SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid/CHIP; and 48% of non-citizen Pakistani families and 11% of non-citizen Indian families also receive public benefits.
On a citywide basis, the de Blasio Administration preliminary analysis has found that, if enacted, the proposal could result in an annual loss of $235 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamps”), Cash Assistance, and Supplemental Security Income and the state supplement (SSI/SSP), if just 20% of the approximately 274,000 non-citizen New Yorkers currently receiving these benefits were to withdraw from participation.
It would also lead to an additional loss of $185 million in related economic activity, if the same group of New Yorkers were to withdraw from receiving these three named benefits.
The officials urged communities to note the fact that the proposed rule is not in effect and still has to go through a public process and public comments are being accepted for the Federal Register Notice up until Monday, December 10.
“Unique comments are highly recommended and must be submitted in English. We encourage those who need help translating their stories into English to reach out to their local community organizations. It’s important to tell individualized stories and arguments for how this affects you, your loved ones, and your community,” they said.
“This proposed rule from the Trump Administration is a direct attack on our City’s core values and the lifelines that millions of hard-working New Yorkers rely upon every day. We will not stand for it. We at DSS remain committed to connecting all New Yorkers in need to the benefits for which they are eligible, ensuring they can put food on the table and make ends meet, no matter where they’ve come from,” Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, said, in the press release.
A press release listed these websites, to help in writing comments before submission: