San Francisco, CA — CAA applauds today’s decisions by New York Federal Judge George B. Daniels and Washington Federal Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson to block expanded public charge rules from taking effect on October 15, 2019. The Trump Administration’s proposed policy underscores a racist xenophobia that devastates immigrant well-being, while posing a risk to public health.

“Public charge” is a label used by the US government when determining whether immigrants could become dependent on government assistance. The Trump Administration’s proposed changes will radically expand definitions of public charge, making it more difficult for immigrants to adjust their status in the US.

Although limited in scope and expected to impact about 300,000 people nationally, the proposal has created fear and confusion among immigrant families. Many have opted out of life-saving programs such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh (SNAP) due to fear of negative immigration consequences, which causes a chilling effect. If implemented, the policy will increase hardships for working-class families, and function as a chokehold on future family-based immigration.

CAA joined other advocates during the public comment period in 2018 to mobilize broad-based opposition against the proposal. The State of California filed the first lawsuit when the policy was finalized in August 2019. San Francisco and many others have since followed suit.

Hong Mei Pang, CAA Director of Advocacy states, “The multiple nationwide injunctions constitute a significant victory for immigrant families, working-class people, and those who believe that family unification should be a cornerstone of our immigration system. It sends a powerful message of inclusion and compassion to immigrants in the United States, one that actually parallels the ethos behind Emma Lazarus’ words inscribed at the Statue of Liberty.”

CAA has been partnering with local government and community-based organizations since the policy was published to ensure that immigrant families understand their rights and can effectively manage their risks by accessing legal services in San Francisco.

Community members who are interested in learning more are encouraged to contact CAA’s Immigrant Rights program at 415.761.3222 for general inquiry and legal referrals regarding how the public charge final rule might affect them.

Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco. Our mission is to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial injustice.