Children’s HealthWatch’s Public Comment To Oppose DOS’ Public Charge Questionnaire

On December 23rd, Children’s HealthWatch submitted a public comment on the Department of State’s (DOS) notice of request for public comment on “60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Public Charge Questionnaire.”  The changes detailed in the DOS’ previous interim public charge rule and the subsequent DS-5540 public charge questionnaire described in this request for public comment would separate families and effectively only allow wealthy applicants to be granted visas. Although the DOS public charge rule and questionnaire targets those applying for visas from outside the United States, research demonstrates the impact this and related rules are having on the existing immigrant community within our nation. Concretely, based on our extensive clinical and research experience, we know this regulatory measure will deter families from accessing programs that could prevent or alleviate economic stressors – even when they are completely eligible for assistance.

The public charge rules and DOS questionnaire do harm: They will separate families and impair over the long-term our national health, educational achievement, and economic status – all of which depend on the mobility and contribution of immigrant families. Therefore, we strongly oppose any administrative action that would harm the health of children and their families and urge the administration to immediately withdraw this proposal in its entirety.