On September 24 the Trump Administration issued its proposal to expand the definition of “public charge” for immigrants, such that it would in effect penalize those who receive SNAP, Medicaid and housing assistance during their process of meeting permanent residence and citizenship requirements. This rule change would also make it more difficult, if not impossible, for immigrants earning 125% of the poverty level to enter the country or to adjust their immigration status. This does not apply to undocumented immigrants as they do not qualify for any of these benefits.
The Farmworker Association of Florida roundly condemns this newest assault on the rights and dignity of the immigrant population in the U.S. that, if passed, would deny visas, permanent resident status, and even eventual U.S. citizenship to low-wage immigrant workers. Farmworkers’ wages are among the lowest of any occupation and their poverty rates are substantially higher than the national average. This proposal has a direct and cruel impact on their lives – the families and the communities with whom our staff interact on a daily basis. Instead of accessing programs that they and their families are already eligible for, this rule change would force farmworkers to make impossible choices about their health and well-being and would drive them further into the margins of the economy.
This kind of attack on immigrants and immigration are not just hurting the immigrant population. It is hurting all of us, and it is hurting us as a country. Together with our allies and partners, the Farmworker Association of Florida will continue to fight unceasingly for the rights and dignity of immigrants and all people, and for a more just, humane, compassionate and unified country.
A public comment period will open up soon in which the public will have 60 days to submit their thoughts and comments to the federal government. We encourage everyone to get involved. Once the notice has been published, we will reach out to all our supporters with sample comments and with the link where you can submit them. We need everyone on board. Your voice is more important now than ever before! We are all part of the Solution!