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Hassan Ahmad 🇺🇸 @HMAesq
, 15 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
I have no excuse not to advocate. So as the season's first snow fell, my friend and patient advocate Peter @morethanmySLE and I hit the halls of the US Senate.

Peter suffers from chronic illnesses. The #ACA saved his life, so now he takes peoples' stories to their senators.
There is a rule being proposed called the "public charge rule." It vastly expands the types of public benefits that an immigrant seeking a green card is barred from - to the point that it becomes a public health issue.

Here's the rule - all 400+ pages:…
Because an immigrant mother with a breast pump paid for by WIC for her US citizen baby will fear that our government will deport her. So, her baby suffers.

This rule will be particularly harsh on pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children.…
The 400+ page rule silently hacks out yet another path to deportation for millions - so the people it affects are generally scared to talk.

Peter and I saw that this was an intersection of healthcare and immigration advocacy, and we decided to tell senators about it.
Peter's a rockstar, so he got meetings with:

@JeffMerkley (D-OR)
@SenAngusKing (D-ME)
@SenSchumer (D-NY)
@ChrisMurphyCT (D-CT)
@EdMarkey (D-MA)
@KamalaHarris (D-CA)
@SenFeinstein (D-CA)
@SenWhitehouse (D-RI)
@SenatorLeahy (D-VT)
@DougJones (D-AL)

(No GOP office accepted.)
We spent about 1/2 hour with each office's staffers (except Merkley, with whom were honored to spent some 1-on-1 time) and Peter shared stories of constituents, the precipitous 300K drop in ACA enrollments compared with this time last year, and went through the stats:
10.5 million children will be affected by the public charge rule, 9 out of 10 of whom are citizens of the United States.

Meanwhile, I told the staffers about how my clients are urging me to file their cases by December 10, the day the public comment period closes.
They are so afraid the law will change the day after (it won't) and they're scared "The Government" will accuse them of taking a benefit they are now not entitled to. (A breast pump is perfectly ok, by the way.)
I told them we need stronger pushback against the source of these horrific policies, telling them about my lawsuit to unseal the #TantonPapers.

I asked each one, "I want to see your boss take charge in the Senate come January, and hold these organizations' feet to the fire."
They ate it up. Some weren't very familiar with the public charge rule. Others knew about it, but were shocked at the stats we provided, and the stories we told. They appreciated we gave them not only facts but messaging.

Peter and I made a good team!
That same day, there was a confirmation hearing for Ronald Vitiello as the new head of #ICE. @SenGaryPeters (D-MI) grilled Vitiello about his connections with FAIR, John Tanton's group.

Imagine if we called them all out. That's only going to happen if we engage our lawmakers.
It is a duty and an honor to use your voice for those who don't have one. The public charge rule will affect millions of people, including those who *are* entitled to these benefits. It will make people sick. It is emphatically a public health issue.
Tell someone's story for them. Affected immigrants are scared into silence, since you have to leave your name when commenting. Silence only means a quicker rollout.

Comments must be considered; they become part of the record, and can be cited in subsequent legal challenges.
We need to blast the site with high quality comments. Here's an easy way:

Your comment will be auto-filed. So tell a story. Talk about why it's a bad idea to scare people out of good healthcare. That affects us all, current or future American.
Share this link with healthcare advocates - this is NOT just an immigration issue.

The 116th Congress is going to be very different from the 115th. It sits in January. It would be great to hold their feet to the fire.

Act now.
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