Public Charge Statement Release: A Barrier to Upward Mobility for Immigrant Families
MAF recently submitted the below statement against the proposed public charge rule. We would like to encourage you all to also make your voice heard before the public comment period closes on December 10th. The Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition has designed an online comment portal to make the public comment process easier.
Mission Asset Fund (MAF) strongly opposes the proposed public charge rule because of the irreversible harm that it will have on immigrant families all across the nation. In over ten years, MAF has supported thousands of low-income individuals, families, and immigrants gain access to safe and affordable loan products. While we are based in San Francisco, CA our nonprofit’s programs and services have led positive impact in communities all across America.
As a direct service provider, we are already witnessing the fear that this proposed rule is causing in the lives of our clients; many whom are immigrant families that use programs like CalFresh to help keep food on the table. In the Bay Area alone, which includes nine different counties, there are more than 440,400 noncitizens in families who participate in cash and noncash benefit programs currently being considered in the proposed rule’s public charge determination. The fact of the matter is, this proposed rule will not affect low-income immigrant families alone. It is already causing widespread fear amongst all immigrants–including their US Citizen children.
We should be putting all of our efforts into maximizing the opportunity for all to thrive in our country, regardless of their immigration or financial status. Instead, this proposed rule would set forth short-sided standards when making public charge determinations. MAF understands the importance of financial security and we know that an individual’s income and credit report alone doesn’t depict a clear picture of their entire financial situation. In fact, within 6 to 12 months of starting our program, nearly one-fifth of MAF’s Lending Circles clients are able to escape subprime credit scores. This only goes to show that there are many different factors that play a role in determining someone’s low credit score and that it would be unfair to include it as a factor for deciding an individual’s immigration status.
MAF recognizes the resilience and resourcefulness displayed by all immigrants in America to overcome barriers. Not only is this proposed rule heartless and unjust, but it creates barriers to upward mobility for immigrant families. The proposed changes to public charge deviate from the founding spirit of America. Immigrants are and will always continue to be important in the fabric of our communities. Instead of embracing and respecting the diverse backgrounds of all immigrants, this proposed rule is an extension of anti-immigrant policies at the federal level that further perpetuates a false narrative of immigrants.
Like many other nonprofit direct service providers, MAF wants to ensure that the promise of our country is made true for everyone regardless of their origins or financial status. As long-standing advocates, we will never support a policy that further harms vulnerable immigrant families in America. With the well-being of our communities and the success of our nation in mind, we urge the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw its proposed changes to the public charge rule.
Mission Asset Fund (MAF)