Courts blocked Trump’s public charge rule. Immigrant advocates say the proposal had a ‘chilling effect.’

 

The Trump administration this summer proposed a rule that would have made it harder for people to get green cards if they had been using government assistance like Medicaid, housing vouchers or food stamps — or if they were deemed likely to use those programs in the future.

The so-called public charge rule was set to take effect on Oct. 15. Instead, courts issued temporary injunctions to stop the rule four days before it was due to kick in.

But advocates who provide social services to immigrant communities say some immigrants started forgoing government benefits long before Oct. 15 — even if the rule would have never applied to them. Advocates call this the “chilling effect.”

“We’re talking about people here, who are in our community, who are contributing to the community but living in fear and not providing for their family out of fear that that is going to impact their immigration status,” said Hope Nakamura, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.

For more on the local impact of the public charge rule, listen to the podcast above.

A billboard about the public charge rule at a bus stop on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, Calif. on Oct. 5, 2019. The billboard directs people concerned about the proposed rule to call a San Mateo County help line.

A billboard about the public charge rule at a bus stop on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, Calif. on Oct. 5, 2019. The billboard directs people concerned about the proposed rule to call a San Mateo County help line. (Amy DiPierro / Peninsula Press)