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This morning, NBC News’ Julia Ainsley exposed the latest frontier in Stephen Miller and Donald Trump’s war on the American idea: a proposal that would use new “public charge” rules to make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens and all immigrants to secure permanent residence.
Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.
Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected. They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.
Many are like Louis Charles, a Haitian green-card holder seeking citizenship who, despite working up to 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant, has had to use public programs to support his disabled adult daughter.
Using some public benefits like Social Security Insurance has already hindered immigrants from obtaining legal status in the past, but the programs included in the recent draft plan could mean that immigrant households earning as much as 250 percent of the poverty level could be rejected.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Authored by White House advisor Stephen Miller and promoted shamelessly by President Trump, this will be yet another dangerous, desperate and cynical strategy aimed at kicking immigrants out of America and keeping Republicans in power. In an unprecedented and reckless fashion, Trump and Miller are using the full power of the state to enact cruel policies aimed at new Americans, many of whom have strong roots in American communities. They do so to cynically divide Americans in hopes of mobilizing disaffected white voters and blaming stagnant wages, rising healthcare costs, defunded schools and threats to Social Security and Medicare on ‘the other.’
The bottom line is that Trump and Miller will keep pointing the finger at immigrants, picking fights with African Americans and trash-talking powerful women because, they believe they can fool voters into directing anger about the future at ‘them’ rather than at the President and his party who stand with ‘us.’ Will it work? We are hopeful. We believe the American people are on to Trump and Miller con. We believe most Americans want leaders who unite us across racial differences to build a nation that extends opportunity to and shares prosperity with all of us, with no one left out.
So, as Trump and Miller connive to put yet another cruel anti-immigrant policy in play, we call on caring people from across the political spectrum to reject the divide-and-conquer strategy of Trump and the GOP. We need a new Congress that will check Trump, focus on solutions for the many rather than tax cuts for the few, and get back to the urgent task of building a nation fully anchored in justice, equality and freedom.