Immigrants can now safely access critical health care and public benefits without fear of losing legal status
The Asian American Federation (AAF) celebrates yesterday’s ruling from Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, who granted a nationwide temporary injunction that suspends the implementation of the public charge rule during the covid-19 pandemic. We celebrate with our co-Plaintiffs, Make the Road New York, Legal Aid Society NYC, Catholic Charities of New York, Center for Constitutional Rights, African Services Committee, and the New York State Attorney General, who stood against the rule that threatened immigrant communities with loss of immigration status for accessing public benefits.
Seventy percent of Asian New Yorkers are immigrants, one in four live in poverty, and the highest number of deported immigrants are from the Asian community. AAF joined the lawsuit because Asian non-citizens dis-enrolled from public benefits at 8 times the rate of Asian citizens when the proposed rule was announced. Immigrants were forced to make the hard choice of a green card or accessing benefits that met their basic necessities for survival. This rule has impacted every pan-Asian community, and every AAF member agency has dealt with questions about alternate resources to public benefits because their clients were too afraid to access government resources, including services that did not ask for immigration status. Our heroes are our member agencies who answered those questions with resources they cobbled together to protect our families.
Judge Daniels ruled that “doctors and other medical personnel, state and local officials, and staff at nonprofit organizations have all witnessed immigrants refusing to enroll in Medicaid or other public funded health coverage, or forgoing testing and treatment for covid-19, out of fear that accepting such insurance or care will increase their risk of being labeled a public charge… as a direct result of the rule, immigrants are forced to make an impossible choice between jeopardizing health and personal safety or their immigration status.”
We are relieved and grateful that the Court has intervened to block this absurd and dangerous rule nationwide. AAF is proud to use our voice to push back against such cruel and inhumane policies that target our most vulnerable families and neighbors.
This is a victory for the broad family of immigrants.