Blumenauer Leads Oregon Delegation Effort Urging Department of Homeland Security to Withdraw Proposed Public Charge Rule

December 10, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) led five of his colleagues in the Oregon Congressional delegation in urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to rescind her proposed changes to the definition of “public charge,” a longstanding component of federal immigration law. After sending the letter, Blumenauer released the following statement:


“This is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to reduce legal immigration by further complicating the process for those who decide to immigrate legally to the United States. As if separating children at the border wasn’t enough, people will now be penalized for applying to programs that support their basic needs. Secretary Nielsen must withdraw this proposal.”


Under current immigration law, the federal government can deny entry or adjust legal permanent resident status to any individual if he or she is determined to likely become a public charge, or receive benefits considered to be cash assistance, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Under the proposed new rule, immigration officials would also consider benefits that are not cash assistance, including programs like Medicaid and SNAP. If implemented, this rule would impact nearly 300,000 people in Oregon, including more than 113,000 children, and result in worse health outcomes, increased rates of poverty and housing instability, and higher levels of food instability.