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Matthew Soerens @MatthewSoerens
, 15 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
The “public charge rule” isn't making headlines—there aren't associated heart-wrenching photos or audio of children screaming for their mom—but this proposed change in interpretation of US law could dramatically impact immigrants & their families. So, please, pay attention [1/15]
Basically, for 100+ years US law has prohibited most individuals from being granted immigrant visas if they are likely to become a “public charge," long interpreted to mean people who would primarily rely on public benefits (refugees & some other categories were excepted) [2/15]
Since 1996, most immigrants faced serious restrictions on their eligibility for means-tested public benefits anyway, which is part of why they use them at far lower rates than native-born US citizens (…) [3/15]
Most immigrants come to the US through family sponsorship. To prove that the immigrant won’t be a public charge, US-based relatives must file legally-binding commitments to financially support their relative & show they and/or a cosponsor have the means to do so [4/15]
That’s how the law has been interpreted. But a new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security would change this, giving government bureaucrats broad discretion to deny immigrant visas based on their suspicion someone might use public benefits [5/15]
They are instructed to consider factors such as family size, education background, health conditions, employment status, and past or predicted future use of a broad range of public benefits programs, including food stamps. A thorough analysis is at… [6/15]
While it seems to be about welfare & public benefits—reliably controversial topics—the rule doesn't change anyone’s eligibility for those benefits, but it does restrict eligibility for legal immigration based on subjective predictions that someone might use public benefits [7/15]
The administration has supported legislation to cut immigrant visas by as much as 40% (…), but that bill has little support in Congress. But this administrative change could cut legal immigration at a similar or greater scale (…) [8/15]
And, in some ways, the effects of the public charge rule could be much harsher than that bill, because instead of restricting the reunification of adult siblings or ending Diversity Visas, the new public charge rule will affect those applying for a spouse & minor children [9/15]
As this @HoustonChron Op-Ed argues, this could be the next family separation policy, ultimately impacting far more families (mixed-status families including both US citizens & immigrants) than the policy of taking kids from parents at the border… [10/15]
Literally hundreds of thousands of marriage-based petitions could be denied annually under this rule, meaning that husbands and wives (& in many cases their small children) will either need to live apart from one another or live outside of the US [11/15]
Evangelicals—who believe that God has established the institutions of marriage and family and government policy ought not to divide them—are voicing opposition to this proposal particularly because of its effect on family unity. See this statement… [12/15]
Many leading national evangelical organizations have submitted formal public comments expressing opposition:





But there’s not much that will stop this from going into effect soon—unless it DOES become a news headline & the White House & Congress hear clearly from voters that—like the family separation policy at the border that was abruptly (mostly) reversed—this is unacceptable [14/15]
So, please, spread the word. Share these links. Call your Representative & Senators (find them here:…) & the White House (202-456-1111). Tweet at them. Pray for them.

But don’t do nothing, or family separation will happen on a much larger scale [15/15]
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