Take Action: Harsh “Public Charge” Policy Threatens Texas Families

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Image via Kaiser Family Foundation

Nearly 2 Million Texans Could Lose Health Care, Food, and More under this Harsh Federal Proposal

Texas parents should never have to avoid getting food or medical care for their U.S. citizen children out of fear that accepting help might derail the parent’s ability to complete the path to legal immigration. But this harsh scenario could be a possibility because of a federal proposal relating to what’s called “Public Charge.”

The Trump Administration has directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to propose a sweeping rule change that could put immigrants and their U.S. citizen children and relatives at risk of being denied a green card if members of their family use programs like Medicaid or food assistance. This callous rule could force millions of Texans—including U.S. citizens and current and prospective legal immigrants—to choose between meeting basic needs like health care and education and the ability of a family member to legally immigrate.

Neither the exact final rule wording nor the exact date of publication is known, but once the proposed rule is published, four kinds of prompt actions will be critical:
1) Submit written comments online opposing the rule (Online tools to submit your comments will be posted here as soon as the rule is published);
2) Public statements opposing the rule from organizations and public officials;
3) Sharing of stories and examples of how the rule will hurt children, schools, businesses, and communities, and shift costs to local governments; and
4) Education and support for Texas’ affected families.

Bookmark our Public Charge “Hub”: To support Texans in taking these actions, CPPP is providing the background material here, plus links to fact sheets and other resources.

Anne Dunkelberg oversees health care policy for CPPP. She focuses on policy and budget issues related to health care access and immigrants’ access to public benefits. She joined the Center in 1994 from the State Medicaid Director’s Office at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Anne is a founding member of the statewide Children’s Health Coverage Coalition (formerly the Texas CHIP Coalition) and the Cover Texas Now Coalition. She has been recognized by Families USA as an outstanding Consumer Health Advocate and by the LBJ School of Public Affairs Alumni Association as a Distinguished Public Servant. She was the primary author of the first edition of Texas Medicaid in Perspective (“the Pink Book”) and serves on the Texas Medicaid Managed Care Statewide advisory committee and the Texas Healthcare Transformation Waiver Executive Waiver Committee. Anne is a native Texan, and received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and her M.P.A. from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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