September 09, 2019

Duckworth, García Discuss Impact of “Public Charge” Rule on Immigrant Families


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García hosted an informational session on the Trump Administration’s mean-spirited public charge rule and what it means for immigrant families Friday at Esperanza Health Center in Brighton Park. This new rule would allow immigration officials to deny immigrants green cards based on their income or the wholly legal action of using of public benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid. Photos from Friday’s event are available here.

“My own experience growing up in poverty makes it clear that the Trump Administration’s ‘public charge’ rule is as heartless as it is dangerous,” Duckworth said. “My family teetered on the brink of homelessness when I was in high school and relied on food stamps to survive. My own mother is an immigrant—and if this proposal had been in place during those years, my family could’ve been forced to choose between her citizenship and going hungry. This proposal isn’t just unfair. It’s cruel, unacceptable and un-American.”

“Trump’s ‘public charge’ rule is another cruel attempt to divide the immigrant community into good immigrants and bad immigrants. The policy creates fear about using benefits that families in my community may need, like food stamps or affordable health care. No one should be punished for using a public service. This rule goes against our values as a nation and we must oppose the rule,” said Congressman García.

The proposed rule, which is expected to go into effect October 15, 2019, will force immigrants to choose between accessing much-needed public benefits, like Medicaid and food assistance, or remaining eligible for legal status and will ultimately harm the financial support and health of immigrant families and children across the country.

Duckworth has long been an advocate for treating immigrant communities with compassion and dignity. Last year, Duckworth joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 20 of their Senate colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Homeland security (DHS) to abandon efforts to implement a “public charge” rule. Duckworth has also helped introduce legislation such as the REUNITE Act to reunify and protect immigrant families from the Trump Administration’s cruel family separation practices. In 2017, Duckworth visited an ICE Detention Center in Kankakee, Illinois following early concerns of civil rights violations such as poor nutrition and inadequate medical care.