November 29 2018

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Dear Partner:
On September 22, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a draft proposed rule to expand the scope of programs that can trigger a public charge determination for immigrants seeking green cards. As I wrote in this statement on September 25, “The proposed rule would threaten the health of more than a million Californians by penalizing them if they access basic nutrition and housing benefits for themselves and their families.”

The Endowment’s organizational values of fairness, inclusion, and health and justice for all have prompted us to respond as an institution. In addition to the September 25th statement, we have produced an “explainer” PSA with The Children’s Partnership. We also signed on to a campaign led by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants & Refugees (GCIR) and Philanthropy California to encourage our philanthropic partners to become engaged on this issue. We will be submitting comments as an organization shortly as well.

The proposed rule represents a massive change in current policy – yet it is put forth without any rationale and in contradiction of the available evidence. Under current policy, only those who cannot show that they will not become dependent on government programs, like cash “welfare” assistance for income maintenance and government-funded long-term care, are disqualified from seeking to obtain a green card. The proposed rule, if enacted, would put millions of working-class immigrant families already here at greater risk of hunger, poverty, homelessness, and other hardships and destabilize communities across California and the country.

Public comments are being accepted until December 10, 2018. Comments may be submitted directly via the Federal Register. Comments can be of any length and submitted as a PDF. Our community partners have also created a microsite where interested individuals can type in comments that are then forwarded to the Federal Register. However, this microsite does not accept PDFs.

If you are interested in learning more about “public charge,” several of our partners have created FAQs and other resources to assist you, including the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition, National Immigration Law Center, and California Immigrant Policy Center.

We think this is a critical issue affecting all of us and an important opportunity to speak on behalf of the millions of people who could be affected by this rule who are our neighbors, co-workers and friends. They are the lifeblood of California’s economy today and even more so into our future. The health and well-being of these families are central to the vitality of California. Whether or not you choose to comment will have no bearing on our current or future grantmaking relationship. Your participation is completely voluntary.

Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

 

 

Click here to read The California Endowment’s comments to the Department of Homeland Security on the proposed Public Charge rule change.

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