President Donald Trump’s administration issued a long-anticipated federal rule Monday that will make it harder for poor legal immigrants to become permanent U.S. residents. The “public charge” rule will punish immigrants who have received public benefits such as SNAP and Medicaid, or are deemed likely to receive such benefits in the future. This means many legal immigrants are likely to forego legal benefits such as food assistance because of fear of government retribution. The New York Time’s Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan report:
“This news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: You are not welcome here,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. She added: “It will have a dire humanitarian impact, forcing some families to forgo critical lifesaving health care and nutrition. The damage will be felt for decades to come.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Robert Greenstein weighs in:
It will sow more fear in immigrant communities and almost certainly lead many immigrants who are in the United States legally as well as their family members to forgo health coverage, nutrition assistance, and housing assistance that they need and are eligible for under federal law. This fear will be even more severe if the Trump Administration adopts another rule it has under consideration, one that reportedly would use receipt of benefits under the expanded public charge definition as a basis to deport some groups of immigrants. The rule issued today will harm children and likely keep — or newly split — apart many families. … And it will diminish many children’s long-term prospects because they won’t receive benefits important to their growth and development, which will weaken the future U.S. workforce.
How immigrants help Louisiana
President Donald Trump reportedly wants the United States to stop admitting asylum-seekers into the country. VAYLA Executive Director Jacqueline Thanh, whose Chinese-Vietnamese parents were part of an earlier wave of refugees who fled Southeast Asia and settled in New Orleans, reminds Advocate readers that Vietnamese immigrants are major contributors to the region’s seafood and hospitality industries, among others.
Refugees make important contributions across the country, too. Nationally, refugees earn more than $77 billion in household income, pay almost $21 billion in taxes, and fill shortages in fields like health care and manufacturing, according to NAE. They also start businesses at a higher rate than the U.S.-born population: 13 % compared to 9 %. Today, our country has more than 180,000 refugee entrepreneurs whose businesses generate $4.6 billion a year.
The changing face of the Deep South
Demographic changes in the Deep South – particularly an influx of black voters in large urban centers – could be helping to change the conservative politics that have dominated in those regions for generations. Pew Trusts’ Tim Henderson reports that black residents are flocking to places like the Atlanta suburbs, and that’s changing the electoral landscape..
The number of votes cast by black residents in Henry County (GA) more than doubled between 2010 and 2018, from under 21,100 to over 43,000, according to Georgia election statistics. Black votes accounted for 44% of the county total. In Gwinnett County, the number of black votes more than doubled, from fewer than 45,000 in 2010 to more than 90,000 in 2018. They accounted for about 29% of the total votes cast in the county.
African Americans are the fastest growing group of voting-age residents in the Deep South, and experts are advising on how to win their support at the ballot box.
Whether Democratic or Republican, politicians in states with changing demographics like Georgia need to be aware of political issues that concern black voters, said Danyelle Solomon, vice president for race and ethnicity policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. “You need to demonstrate to [black voters] that voting is going to provide a way to improve their lives by finding policy solutions to issues like gun safety and inequality,” Solomon said. “You can’t just go to them at the last minute and ask for support because you’re a Democrat.”
Oregon’s paid leave policy
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed what Route Fifty is calling the most generous paid family leave policy in the country on Friday, joining seven states and the District of Columbia in offering this popular program to workers. The program will be paid for with small contributions from both employers and employees, similar to a policy proposal designed for Louisiana by LBP Policy Director Stacey Roussel. Route Fifty’s Kate Elizabeth Queram has more on the Beaver State’s expansive program.
The law guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents (biological, foster or adoptive), people caring for sick relatives or those recovering from illness. Benefits will start being paid in 2023. The policy includes extended and non-traditional family members, including stepchildren, grandchildren, the child of a spouse or domestic partner, a sibling or step-sibling, and “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship.” The program also offers paid “safe leave” to workers who either are themselves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, or who have dependents who fit that description. Finally, it ensures 100 percent of wages for low-income workers, capping weekly benefits around $1,200. Part-time employees are eligible, provided they earn at least $1,000 per year.
Number of the Day
444,282 – Louisiana patients served each year by community health centers. Source: 2018 Uniform Data Statistics, HRSA