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Immigrants Fearing Receiving Public Benefits, Even for Their U.S. Citizen Children

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Undocumented immigrants are fearing Donald Trump’s hard-line stances on immigrations so viscerally that they are keeping their U.S. citizen children from receiving health and food assistance.

Mr. Armando Rivera lost his job in a factory after there was an immigration raid.  While his children are U.S. citizens and eligible for federal programs that would give health and food assistance to them, he is not signing them up.

An adjustment of status applicant that is trying to become a green-card holder (legal permanent resident), Maria de Jesus Fuerte, is staying away from public benefits for her U.S. citizen child out of fear that her record must be “perfect” in order to become a LPR.

An undocumented twenty-year-old college student waited multiple days before seeking medical assistance after she was the victim of a rape.  Her reason?  She was afraid of being deported if she sought medical attention.

Immigrants already in desperate fear are only going to become increasingly more afraid.  The federal government is set to propose rule changes to ensure that immigrants seeking to adjust status are “self-sufficient.”  The rule changes will lower the chances of immigrant’s gaining legal status if they have used or may use in the future public benefits.  The rule change will go towards the “public charge” label, meaning immigrants who are too dependent on social services that are funded federally.  The future changes will broaden “public charge” so that income, family size, and proficiency with the English language will be taken into account.

The changes are not to be implemented for months but immigration advocates are already preparing to challenge the lawfulness of the changes.

According to policy analysts and immigration advocates, low-income immigrants and U.S citizen children’s health will be put at risk due to these rules.

Fuete refused to renew her daughter’s health coverage as her income increases because she is too afraid.  Fuerte said, “We have to be perfect and advance forward.”

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