The Arc of Illinois: March 4 Legislative Breakfast & Public Charge Update


Today, Monday Feb. 24th, the public charge rule takes effect (the Supreme Court just removed the Illinois injunction yesterday).  The rule defines how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides who is inadmissible to the U.S. because the government thinks he or she is likely to become a “public charge.” The rule will make it extremely difficult for people with disabilities to immigrate to our country, and discourage those already here from using critical public benefits, including the Medicaid-funded home and community based services many people with disabilities rely on to fully participate in their communities. The rule could also have additional repercussions for people with disabilities, as it may impact Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who provide necessary supports and services, as many DSPs are immigrants and may rely on publicly-funded programs.

The public charge rule represents a sharp departure from longstanding immigration policy. Implementation of the rule was initially delayed due to preliminary injunctions issued in lawsuits challenging the rule. Twenty-one states filed cases to block DHS public charge rule, and were initially successful. The Arc of the United States, with the Center for Public Representation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other national disability advocacy groups, filed amicus briefs in support of the litigation. However, on January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court issued an order allowing the rule to go into effect. Though the rule is in effect for now, litigation is ongoing, and The Arc will continue the fight.

We wanted to share some relevant resources from Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF), since this change is likely to result in confusion and fear among immigrant communities and others. (The Arc is an active PIF member organization.) PIF has developed a number of resources for individuals, community leaders, and advocates to use as they navigate this new rule.

For people working with immigrant families, these Know Your Rights resources may be useful. There are several available in Spanish and English, including:

·Public Charge: Does This Apply To Me?

·Carga Pública: ¿Aplica En Mi Caso?

·Know Your Rights!

·¡Conozca Sus Derechos!

·Should I Keep My Kids Enrolled In Health And Nutrition Programs?

·¿Debo Mantener La Inscripción De Mis Hijos En Los Programas De Salud Y Alimentación? If you are interested in participating in a #ProtectFamilies Teach-In day on or around February 24th, please see this flyer for more information, or check out this toolkit for folks to use.