Stand Up for Immigrant Families

Global Justice Advocacy Network

Stay informed. Get engaged


The Trump Administration recently proposed a major change to restrict the pathways for immigrants to gain citizenship in the United States of America. You can fight back. The proposal requires a public comment period (through December 16). You can write the federal government and state your opposition to this proposal. You can invite others to do so as well.

The White House proposed changing the “public charge” rule, a decades old rule that allows the federal government to take into account a non-citizen’s use of the social safety net (i.e., welfare) in determining his/her eligibility for citizenship. Since 1999, the federal government has only used this rule when a non-citizen has been in a long-term health care setting at government expense or has received public cash assistance for income maintenance. The new proposal would expand the type of assistance that would render an immigrant ineligible for citizenship. This is a nothing short of a back door way to target immigrants, reducing the supports we provide to all residents, and forcing them into the shadows or, worse yet, out of the country.

Reports from most parts of the country show that even before the rule takes effect, it is harming immigrant community. Hennepin County, Minnesota (home to Minneapolis) found that immigrants are showing up at human services centers and requesting their applications for support (for which they are legally eligible) be withdrawn out of fear of being deported. Estimates show that as many as 212,000 people in Minnesota could consider turning down health care, nutrition, or other essential assistance for fear of being considered a “public charge,” which would put more roadblocks in their path to citizenship and make it harder to keep families together. Over half of these people are actually U.S. citizens, including 74,000 children. Our friends and neighbors are already being hurt. We need to support them. We must stand up for them.

Get Educated

  • The Kaiser Family Foundation has a report on the health impacts the proposed rule could have on immigrants and our communities where they reside
  • Read the National Immigrant Law Center’s overview of the proposed public charge rule
  • Review the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s summary

Submit Your Comments (by 10 December 2018)

  • While the Administration has the legal authority to make this change, it must be done with a public comment period. You can make your opposition heard by submitting comments.
  • The Protecting Immigrant Families Project has a step-by-step guide on how to submit your comments to the federal government
  • If you are familiar with submitting comments to proposed federal rules, you can go directly to the Federal Register


  • The Catholic Legal Immigration Network produced a tool kit for faith-based organizing and advocacy in opposition to the rule
  • Learn how to talk about the issue

You can make your opposition heard by submitting comments.

This action alert was prepared by the Government and Policy Team of the Global Justice Institute, the Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director.

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