Children’s HealthWatch Statement on Threat to 2022 Public Charge Rule

Two years ago, Children’s HealthWatch and our partners celebrated the rescission of the 2019 public charge rule – a harmful and racist wealth test policy that penalized participation of immigrant families in evidence-based programs with demonstrated positive health and developmental outcomes. Today, we are deeply disappointed that a Senate majority has advanced an effort to overturn that action. This is unacceptable. The 2019 public charge rule issued under the previous Administration endangered the health and well-being of immigrant families and their children. Even prior to its implementation, immigrant families reported forgoing public benefits, even when eligible, out of fear. During that time, Children’s HealthWatch found a significant reduction in eligible immigrant families participating in SNAP and a simultaneous increase in child food insecurity. We thank the Senators from our Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota delegations who voted to protect the current 2022 public charge rule. We now urge the House to recognize the importance of upholding this current law. Though the Biden Administration has promised to veto any efforts to overturn the 2022 rule should it pass the House, we are nonetheless deeply concerned about the impact the efforts to overturn the rule and this harmful resolution will have on immigrant families’ confidence in participating in benefits for which they or their children are eligible. Research repeatedly shows that children thrive when their families have the resources to keep them safe, healthy, well-fed, and stably housed. Ensuring that everyone in our communities can meet their basic needs ensures the fundamental building blocks of a healthy, prosperous America.