Janet Sabel, CEO and Attorney-In-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, issued the following statement today responding to the Trump Administration's new “public charge” regulations issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
“For the first time in U.S. history, the government will apply a stringent “public charge” test to family-based applicants for permanent residence. Not even people making 250 percent of the poverty level – $64,000 a year for a family of four – are immune from having their green card applications denied. At special risk are individuals who have received, or are predicted to receive in the future, even minimal amounts of certain forms of government assistance, like SNAP or Medicaid.
As the country’s largest legal provider for indigent individuals, we know that many New Yorkers – immigrant and non-immigrant – are eligible for and use government benefits to supplement low-wage work as they move up the ladder of economic success. The administration's attempt to demonize our low-income, immigrant clients – predominantly immigrants of color – for accessing these benefits is just another racist dog-whistle aimed at punishing immigrants for political gain.
The Legal Aid Society will continue to defend our clients and all immigrant New Yorkers – through all means available to us, including litigation – to help ensure that anyone eligible for government benefits can access them without jeopardizing their future in the U.S. Anyone concerned with these new rules should contact our Immigration Law Unit Helpline at 1-844-955-3425.”