Monday, January 27, 2020
For Immediate Release:
Monday, January 27th 2020
Monday, January 27th 2020
María R. González Albuixech
Director, Communications and Immigrant Health
Health Care For All
Health Care Advocates Lament Supreme Court's Decision to Allow Implementation of Draconian Rule Targeting Immigrant Families
Health Care For All and Health Law Advocates Remind Immigrant Communities to Seek Legal Help Before Making Any Changes to their Benefits
BOSTON - Massachusetts health care advocates are disappointed and concerned after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted earlier today the last nationwide injunction that prevented the "public charge" rule to go into effect. The final rule was issued back in August 2019, and it vastly expands who can be denied a green card or visa because they are deemed at-risk of becoming a "public charge." The rule makes it more difficult for immigrants who earn less than 250% of the federal poverty line to obtain a "green card" or a visa if they are 'more likely than not' to use one of several safety-net programs someday.
"This ruling adds to the confusion and fear currently being felt in immigrant communities. We know this fear is already preventing many residents in Massachusetts from accessing the services they need to live healthy and productive lives," said Amy Rosenthal, executive director of Health Care For All. "By adding some nutrition, housing and health care programs to the list of benefits counted towards the public charge determination, we are putting our immigrant families in an impossible predicament: choosing between adjusting their immigrant status or putting food on the table, a roof over their heads or seeking medical care."
"Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court permitting the implementation of the Trump administration's new public charge rule enables an unprecedented intrusion by the Department of Homeland Security into health policy - a subject far outside its expertise and Congressional mandate," said Justin Lowe, legal director at Health Law Advocates. "The decision will harm our most vulnerable neighbors, friends and family members and will interfere with the ability of our state and local governments to safeguard public health and control rising healthcare costs."
This rule faces numerous legal challenges and several preliminary injunctions were issued while those lawsuits make their way through the courts. All the injunctions affecting Massachusetts have been lifted effectively at this point which opens the door to its implementation. However, it is important for members of the immigrant communities to know that this rule does not impact every immigration case. In fact, most immigrants who qualify for the benefits added to the list are not subject to public charge, and most of the people who are subject to public charge do not qualify for the added benefits.
Health Law Advocates and Health Care For All recommend those people concerned about how the rule may impact the future of their immigration case to reach out to qualified immigration and public benefits attorneys before making any changes to their healthcare or other benefits. Community members can also call Health Care For All's HelpLine (800-272-4232) if they have a specific question about if their health insurance program will count towards the public charge determination.