Bonta Introduces Resolution Opposing Trump Plan to Harm Low Income Immigrant Families

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bonta Introduces Resolution Opposing Trump Plan to Harm Low Income Immigrant Families

Sacramento, CA--API Caucus members, other lawmakers, and community advocates came together for a press conference today to urge the public to condemn the Trump Administration’s proposed “public charge” rule changes and submitcomments in opposition to the plan before the end of the public comment period on December 10.  The proposed changes would deny immigrants legal status for accessing an excessively broad list of public assistance programs.

“No one should live in fear of deportation for simply accessing basic services,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the API Legislative Caucus, which hosted the press conference. “I encourage all Californians to use our collective voice to fight this cruel proposal.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is introducing an Assembly Concurrent Resolution to formally condemn the regulatory changes and urge the federal government to reconsider this ill-conceived proposal.  

“The proposed change to public charge by this President is another blatant attack on immigrant communities," said Assemblymember Bonta. "It’s fueled by racism, classism, and xenophobia. That's why I'm introducing a resolution calling on the federal government to stop this dangerous proposal that would cause significant harm to an untold number of immigrants trying to realize their own American dream."

A diverse group of legislators are co-authors of the resolution, including Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), David Chiu, Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley), Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Marc Levine (D-Marin), Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Senators Jim Beall (D-San Jose), Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), and Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach).

Current law defines a public charge as an individual that participates in cash assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or programs for those who need institutionalized long-term care.  The changes to the rule would expand the definition of a public charge to include recipients of Medicaid, Medicare Part D, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and other federally subsidized housing programs. 

Recipients of these programs would be ineligible for permanent residence in the United States and could be subject to deportation. The changes would also allow the federal government to weigh English proficiency when categorizing someone as a public charge.  

The fear of being deemed a public charge will cause millions of Californians to withdraw from public assistance programs, resulting in a loss of $151 million in state and local tax revenue and $2.8 billion in economic output.  Seventy percent of those affected by these changes would be children.  

API Caucus members were joined by representatives of the Latino Caucus, Jewish Caucus, Women’s Caucus, Western Center on Law and Poverty, California Immigrant Policy Center, Planned Parenthood, and other advocacy organizations in condemning these changes.

“The Latino Caucus continues to oppose these horrific policy proposals coming from the Trump Administration,” said Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “This country was founded by immigrants, and contributions by immigrants since then have helped mold the United States into the most prominent country of the modern era. We must continue to fight and advocate for the fair treatment of folks who come to this country often to do work that our residents just won’t do, but don’t have healthcare or livable wages.”

“The Administration’s continued efforts to target the most vulnerable among us is immoral, bad public policy, and fundamentally inconsistent with our Jewish and American values” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D – San Fernando Valley), Vice Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.  “As Jews and as Californians, we are committed to working closely with other communities to oppose these changes and defend our California values.”

The federal government is soliciting comment from the public on this rule change until December 10.  Members of the public are encouraged to submit a comment at bit.ly/NoToPublicCharge.

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The California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus represents and advocates for the interests of the diverse API communities throughout California. It seeks to increase Asian Pacific Islander participation and representation in all levels of government. Learn more at: apicaucus.legislature.ca.gov