On September 22, 2018, the Trump Administration announced a proposed rule that would make changes to “public charge” policies. Under longstanding policy, the federal government can deny an individual entry into the U.S. or adjustment to legal permanent resident (LPR) status (i.e., a green card) if he or she is determined likely to become a public charge.
Under the proposed rule, officials would newly consider use of certain previously excluded programs, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program, and several housing programs, in public charge determinations.
The changes would likely lead to broad decreases in participation in Medicaid and other programs among legal immigrant families and their primarily U.S.-born children beyond those directly affected by the changes. Nationwide, over 19 million or one in four (25%) children live in a family with an immigrant parent, and nearly nine in ten (86%) of these children are citizens.
Decreased participation in these programs would contribute to more uninsured individuals and negatively affect the health and financial stability of families and the growth and healthy development of their children.
Earlier this week we represented a 17 year old girl at her individual hearing before an immigration judge. From the time she was five until she was thirteen her family was persecuted by the country’s security forces, suffering death threats, beatings and rape. Her parents fled to the US with their younger children leaving my client with her grandparents. Her grandparents then let a gang member take her to be his woman. She was 13, he was 22. For the next two and a half years he repeatedly beat and raped her and forced her to work for him. After being hospitalized from her last beating she fled to the US. She was pregnant when she got to the border and gave birth while in detention. The gang member continues to search for her.
We believed that the statutes and case law supported our application for asylum and when we entered the court the ICE attorney praised the quality of our pre-hearing brief and commented that “six months ago this would have been a slam dunk”. What he was referring to was the recent ruling by the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, known as Matter of A-B-. In that ruling he essentially said that victims of gang violence or domestic violence did not deserve asylum. It is a clear example of the inhumanity and flawed legal thinking of this administration.
In the past a case like this would have easily been granted asylum but our immigration judge deferred to the Attorney General’s ruling and ordered this child deported. At the close of the hearing he said it’s unfortunate that bad things happen to nice people.
We will appeal this decision and know that it is the first of many. Most of the cases we represent are for clients who faced similar situations in their home countries. We are working with others around the country through CLINIC and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies to combine cases for litigation against this attack on due process and asylum law.
In the meantime we are getting reports of more young people arriving in our area every day who have fled similar circumstances and who need representation.
You have probably been reading or hearing about the thousands of asylum seeking families who are being separated and detained by our government. KIAC is working with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to recruit volunteers who can help these moms and dads prepare for their asylum interviews – the first step in gaining asylum. This preparation is critical to their having a chance to gain safety from the violence they fled and to be reunited with their children. We will start working with the first family tomorrow and are hoping to recruit several local attorneys to take on other families.
As this cruel situation continues we are striving to do what we can to help. Here in our own community four year old Juan depends on us to represent him in his deportation proceedings. Juan came to the US with his mother, fleeing violence in their home country. They were apprehended at the border and placed in deportation proceedings. In another of the debacles of our “justice” system, Juan’s mom was deported while he was left here with a sponsor. Without our help Juan would be representing himself in his deportation proceedings. Yes, that’s right, even a four year old doesn’t get a legal representative unless they can pay for one or someone volunteers. We went to immigration court with Juan on this last Tuesday and found that the deportation assembly line has been speeded up. Juan will likely be facing an immigration judge at his individual hearing (trial) in September. We will be by his side to ensure that justice is really done.
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Serving our sisters and brothers in the immigrant community