ASIA, Inc. Condemns Trump’s Rule Targeting Legal Immigrants

ASIA, Inc. Condemns Trump’s Rule Targeting Legal Immigrants

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 14, 2019

Media Contact:
Kimlee Sureemee
216-881-0330 Ext. 8811

Akron, Ohio – Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA, Inc.) condemns the Trump Administration’s continued attacks towards immigrants living in the United States. Today, the Trump Administration formally published in the Federal Register the final rule on “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds”. The rule is scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019, 60 days after today’s publication date.

“The final rule on Public Charge will directly impact Ohio’s immigrant community,” said Sujata Burgees, Assistant Director of Operations at ASIA, Inc.’s International Community Health Center (ASIA-ICHC). “The rule would impact around 49% of the total limited English proficient patients we serve, forcing families to choose between their wellbeing or legal status.”

Expected to impact 10.3 million immigrants obtaining legal status in the U.S., the rule would expand the criteria for determining who is considered a public charge. The changes would deny permanent green card status to immigrants who use vital non-cash basic needs benefits including Medicaid, food assistance and housing assistance. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security also establishes the totality of circumstances test that will negatively use health, family status, assets, financial status, education, prospective immigration status, and English language proficiency as factors when determining admissibility to the U.S.

The rule would penalize legal immigrants for using one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within a 36-month period.  The rule specifies that receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months under the public charge analysis. The rule would also allow USCIS discretionary authority to post a bond of $8,100 for an individual deemed likely to become a public charge.

Over 50 Chinese seniors living in a nearby assisted living center have inquired with ASIA, Inc. caseworkers on how the public charge rule will impact their resident status. Many of these seniors are immigrants who came to the U.S. to reunite with family many years ago. Some have received subsidized housing and Medicaid assistance based on their qualifications. These seniors now fear being deported or losing their immigration status and are left with the decision to choose between their stability or security.

“Just like the Chinese seniors we serve, we have seen a number of our patients and clients attempting to disenroll from benefits because of fear around the public charge rule,” said Elaine Tso, CEO of ASIA, Inc. “As the largest AAPI-serving health and social services agency in Ohio, I am concerned about the effect that the public charge rule will have on the families and communities that we serve.”

As a member of Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, the One Nation Coalition, and the Value Our Families campaign, ASIA, Inc. says “no” to public charge and will continue to fight for our community.