Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter today detailing grave concerns around proposed federal changes to how applications to extend or change an individual’s immigration status are processed.
The Trump administration is reviewing a draft proposal that would, for the first time, allow the federal government to discriminate against individuals who have used, or whose families have used, noncash public benefits. That includes U.S.-born children of immigrant parents.
"The proposal is clearly intended to deny basic supports like food, health care, and housing to lawfully present immigrants and their families — including millions of children and U.S. citizens — who pay taxes, work, go to school and contribute to our country's economy," Inslee wrote.
Washington state is home to 455,000 children who are U.S. citizens and have at least one immigrant parent.
If the draft “public charge” proposal were adopted, immigration officials could consider whether individuals or any of their dependent family members have received or sought any public services such as Medicaid, CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Section 8 housing vouchers, the earned income tax credit and other assistance. Ultimately, use of these basic supports could be used in immigration decisions, including the denial of green cards and even deportation.
"By significantly expanding the scope and reach of ‘public charge’ rules, our state expects many eligible individuals to stop using their benefits or not apply for benefits at all. This will undoubtedly lead to people across the U.S. going hungry, not accessing needed medical care, losing economic self-sufficiency, and even becoming homeless," Inslee wrote.
Read the full letter here.