A proposed rule from the White House would make it harder for legal immigrants to get green cards if they have received certain kinds of public assistance. This change could affect many immigrants who live in Kansas.
“The change to Public Charge is really threatening to upwards of 16,000 Kansas kids,” said Joey Hentzler, Director of Advocacy for Kansas Appleseed. “Basically, the new rule would ask immigrant families who are doing everything our legal system is asking of them to go hungry, to go homeless and to go sick, in case they fall on hard times and have to access the public safety net.”
The key here is this is asking those who are making an effort to be here legally to use less government assistance. This isn’t about people who are not trying to get legal status.
“These safety net programs exist for folks who have been in our country,” said Hentzler. “For example, SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is only available to documented immigrants who have been here for at least five years. They’ve paid taxes, whether property, through their rents or payroll taxes or sales tax. In case those folks fall on hard times, then they can access those public safety net options just like any other Kansan.”
Kansas Appleseed wants Kansans to file public comments on the proposed rule in an effort to get the language softened.
“You can go to kansasappleseed.org and find the webpage there,” said Hentzler. “During this rule change, there is a public comment period of 60 days. If you add your voice to ours, we can speak out against this unfair rule change and also create a case eventually for when more advocacy happens down the road.”
Receiving public aid wouldn’t necessarily stop people from getting a green card, but it would make it more difficult. A final rule wouldn’t take effect until 2019.