WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the finalized public charge rule that would target the health and wellbeing of immigrants in the United States. The rule, which will be officially published on Wednesday, August 14, is meant to intimidate immigrant communities and will dissuade families that are eligible for programs like Medicaid from using them.

In fact, the proposed rule has already led to disenrollment from public health programs. The rule will be applied prospectively and will be put into effect starting October 15, 2019.

“The public charge rule does not align with our values as a country,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “Access to quality and affordable health care is a human right, and APIAHF and its partners will continue to fight against regressive policies that threaten the wellbeing of all families and communities in our great country.”

Despite an overwhelming response of over 250 thousand comments, including 23 thousand from Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocates, opposing the rule, DHS is making final severe restrictions on who may enter or stay in the country, based on arbitrary evaluations of their supposed potential to use public assistance. APIAHF’s detailed comments states, “DHS exceeds its authority in proposing the changes in [the proposed public charge rule],” and that it “furthers a xenophobic and racist vision of America.” Additionally, APIAHF’s comments include the warning that this rule would lead to “massive disenrollment from public benefits.”

This rule will cause a great deal of harm to minority communities, including many in the AAPI community. APIAHF will continue to work to bring clarity to this rule, fight against these regressive policies and support our communities in any way we can. For more information on the rule, please visit www.protectingimmigrantfamilies.org.