December 05, 2018

MAZON Submits Comments on Public Charge Proposed Rule Change

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The Trump Administration recently proposed a change to federal law that would significantly broaden who is deemed a ‘public charge’ in immigration proceedings in the U.S. In response to the proposed Public Charge rule change, MAZON has submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security, decrying the proposal and outlining the myriad ways in which this harmful shift in policy would worsen the issue of food insecurity in this country.

The expansion of the public charge rule would force families to forego basic needs—such as food, medical care, and housing assistance—or risk jeopardizing their immigration status. We are particularly concerned that for the first time, a legal immigrant to the U.S. could be considered ineligible for citizenship simply because he or she utilizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—our nation’s food stamp program.

As a Jewish organization, MAZON understands the deep and devastating implications of this proposed rule change and the grave harm it could bring in today’s world. Jews were subjected to an eerily similar public charge policy by the United States in the years preceding and during the Holocaust. The current proposed changes would give the Trump administration broad discretion to deny admission of similarly situated immigrants to the United States today.

This proposal is so draconian that an estimated one third of U.S. citizens—107 million people—would fail to meet its standards. Families are already disenrolling in critical services like SNAP, fearing that their participation will negatively affect immigration proceedings for themselves or family members.

If enacted, this proposed rule change would force families to make an impossible choice: whether to accept government assistance like SNAP or live in safety with the people they love. It would therefore worsen the already dire food insecurity rates in this country.

Simply put, if this rule change is enacted, more people will go hungry and be forced deeper into poverty. Read our full comments here.

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