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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Proposed Public Charge rule could affect immigrants' applications for legal status

“Public Charge” dates back to the 19thcentury and denied entry to the U.S. to people who couldn’t work, didn’t have family here and or were experiencing poverty. 

According to Victoria Crouse, the State Policy Fellow at the Michigan League for Public Policy an immigrant is considered a public charge when they depend on government assistance – until now the government had not explicitly defined “public charge.” 

“What’s been proposed is that they actually defined the term “public charge” by statute and they essentially expand it to include use of basically any form of public benefit even when its sought out by the relatives of the immigrant who is applying like U.S. born children.” 

Undocumented Michigan residents are contributing about $126 million per year in taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy they do not benefit from social security, food stamp benefits or health insurance.   

“It really is an impossible decision for families that is making that choice of “am I going to take my relatives out of having this important medical care or am I just going to jeopardize my chances for being able to stay permanently in this country, and be with my family and be a care taker.” 

If this law goes forward immigrants may be denied a legal status or citizenship if their U.S born children receive benefits like Medicaid or food stamps. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News

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