Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement directing County Counsel to either file and/or join in litigation that opposes the federal Administration’s final rule expanding the definition of a ‘public charge,’ which if left legally unchallenged, will take effect on October 15, 2019:

“On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published its final rule to expand the definition of what it means to be a ‘public charge,’ making it more difficult for immigrants to get a green card if they lawfully enroll for such public government benefit programs as CalFresh or Medicaid. This expanded definition of a public charge would disproportionately affect individuals with low and moderate incomes who are pursuing lawful permanent resident status.

This new rule has sown seeds of confusion within immigrant communities, causing people to dis-enroll from government programs they are eligible to receive out of fear of retribution from immigration authorities.

The expanded definition of a public charge could impact more than two million Californians, many of whom would not be subject to this new rule. According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 7 out of 10 Californians expected to drop out of public assistance programs would be children, many of whom are U.S. citizens. If this new rule were implemented, California could lose up to $1.67 billion in federal benefits and nearly 18,000 jobs, according to UCLA’s analysis. In Los Angeles County, 283,000 people would dis-enroll from CalFresh and 708,000 would withdraw from Medi-Cal.

This new regulation forces many immigrants to make an impossible choice: keep your family healthy, but risk being separated, or relinquish vital services to keep your family together in this country. This is not a choice. Our vulnerable children, the disabled, and senior citizens will be most affected by this inhumane new rule. The Office of Immigrant Affairs and other pertinent County Departments will continue to inform residents about the rule’s potential impact on their individual situations.

LA County will continue to defend, protect, and fight for its most vulnerable residents.”

Today’s action marks the 43rd immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to create sensitive locations throughout the County, a $3 million dollar contribution to the LA Justice Fund, and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.

###

Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov or 213-359-0795