In response, Leslie Graham, President and CEO of the Primary Care Coalition (PCC), released the following statement:
As problematic as the new regulations will be for those groups affected, there are many exemptions: refugees, asylum applicants, immigrants from certain countries who have been granted relief and certain visa statuses are all exempt. Sadly, leaked versions of the rule and the overall technical complexity of the regulation have created a sense of fear and confusion among community members, effectively deterring people from accessing needed and available services, even if their U.S. residency applications would not be impacted.
Since the first versions of the revised regulation were leaked over a year ago, PCC has monitored changes in patient behavior. We've seen numerous cases of people being fearful to interact with the health care system; not wanting to apply for benefits for their U.S. born children; and, not wanting to remain engaged with locally funded programs even though these local programs are not included in public charge determinations. These fears are not about the text of the ruling itself but the overall environment of fear and confusion that has been created around the Public Charge rule.
As a community, we must respond to this issue by equipping residents with information and support in interpreting the ruling so they can make informed decisions based on their specific circumstances. We must also work to mitigate the mistrust and fear of interacting with government offices which is making it hard for people to access not only the federal benefits for which they are legally eligible, but also locally funded programs.
Local governments often develop programs to fill the gaps where federal programs fall short. Montgomery County has been a leader in providing access to health services for people ineligible for any other programs through the Montgomery Cares and Care for Kids program, which PCC proudly administers. These programs have been, and continue to be, an option for people who are not eligible for Medicaid. Yet in this climate of fear and uncertainty residents may understandably avoid interacting with government agencies to access benefits. Local governments, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, and other community organizations must work as partners to reach, educate, and sustain trust with foreign born residents.
The Primary Care Coalition (PCC) upholds the principles of diversity, inclusion, and respect for people from all cultures and backgrounds and recognizes that these values are directly related to the health of every individual and the health of the community as a whole. We look forward to collaborating with the local government, other community-based organizations, and the residents we serve to reclaim a sense of trust between our immigrant neighbors and the public and private institutions that serve them.
Who is Affected?
- The public charge test does not consider benefits used by family members.
- There are many exempt groups and people need to find out if they are in one of those categories.
Who is Affected
- People who are seeking an "admission" coming for the first time
- People who do not yet have a greencards but will be applying for one
- People who have non-immigrant visas but wish to apply to change it to an immigrant visa
- People who want to apply to extend their visa status or stay
- Asylum applicants
- Refugees and asylees applying for adjustment to permanent resident status
- Amerasian Immigrants (for their initial admission)
- Individuals granted relief under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA)
- Individuals granted relief under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
- Individuals granted relief under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA)
- Individuals applying for a T Visa
- Individuals applying for a U Visa
- Individuals who possess a T visa and are trying to become a permanent resident (get a greencard)
- Individuals who possess a U visa and are trying to become a permanent resident (get a greencard)
- Applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- Certain applicants under the LIFE Act Provisions