Aug. 28, 2019 By Ryanne Salzano
Borough President Melinda Katz and the New York Immigration Commission will be hosting a town hall next month to discuss the controversial “public charge” rule.
The town hall, scheduled for Sept. 17 at Queens Borough Hall, will address the Trump administration’s new rule, which will make it easier for the federal government to reject immigrants when they apply for green cards or other visas. The rule goes into effect Oct. 15.
The government is currently able to deny a visa application if an immigrant is classified as a “public charge.” Traditionally, an immigrant is labelled a public charge if he or she is “primarily” reliant on the government for subsistence–through programs such as Supplemental Security Income and federal welfare.
The new rule expands the definition of public charge, and immigrants who receive food stamps, housing assistance, healthcare and other benefits-no matter how small the amount–are likely to fall into that category.
Katz said that the rule will have a significant impact on Queens, with many immigrants likely to forfeit much-needed services out of fear they will jeopardize their visa status.
“This cruel, anti-immigrant policy will do little more than push immigrant families in Queens and across this country further into poverty, ”Katz said. “By forcing families to choose between legal residency and food on the table, medical care or a roof over their head, we are endangering not only their well-being but that of all New Yorkers.”
Several states have filed lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s rule, including New York.
The rule does not apply to refugees, asylum-seekers or people who have been granted asylum.
“This proposed rule change would disproportionally impact the borough of Queens,” Katz said. “We are the most ethnically and racially diverse county in the United States. Almost half (47.8 percent) of our population is foreign born.”
For details as to the time and location of the town hall, click here.