Executive Order on Public Benefits to Threaten Access to Services and Deportation for Immigrants
OAKLAND, Calif. – In an effort to stop a potential Trump Executive Order that would impact lives of immigrants who are admitted to the United States legally, 38 nonprofit organizations, government officials and academics serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are uniting to increase public awareness of an ominous executive order, leaked earlier this year and foreshadowed in public statements again just last week, that threatens immigrants with deportation if they use federally funded public benefits, and indebts their sponsors with repaying such benefits.
The following organizations, government officials and academics stand behind the joint statement below:
A dangerous movement rumbling through the current administration threatens to strip immigrants’ access to healthcare, housing, food assistance, and other public programs funded by the federal government.
Contrary to the belief that immigrants are a net-deficit to this country, scholars have found that immigrants’ use of benefits is largely short term, and that the support promotes their longer term social integration, economic, and broader contributions to society. Yet, the idea that this country continues to “lawfully admit millions who arrive in the U.S. only to become reliant on federal taxpayer support,” otherwise known as becoming a “public charge,” has been promulgated by the current administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as evidenced in his treatise on Immigration in 2015. And now this draconian proposed law would threaten the health, safety, and well-being of families and communities by undermining our entire public health care and safety net system.
By design and by default, such legislation would create divisions within immigrant communities and pit immigrant and non-immigrants against each other.
Immigrants from Asia comprise the largest percentage of lawful permanent residents than any other global region (41% nationally and 54% in California); and thus, the proposed legislation would disproportionately impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population.
The chilling effects of the proposed executive order from earlier this year have already left imprints in the AAPI communities. We are documenting more and more reports of immigrants opting out of public programs and limiting their utilization of health care services. Furthermore, past experiences with wrongful public charge enforcement, including during Welfare Reform in 1996, have resulted in immigrants being unlawfully penalized and even deported.
As prominent organizations and leaders from health, labor, faith-based, legal, business, academic, and government sectors who serve AAPI communities, we stand united in calling for an end to the dangerous and inhumane policies that unfairly target immigrants rather than recognizing our collective essential contributions to this nation.
As the fastest growing racial group in the country, 21 million strong, and doubling in our voting power, we, immigrants and descendants of immigrants, are committed to mobilizing our communities to leverage our strength in size, resources, and electorate power to protect our American rights.
We know that the most vulnerable among us can and will one day be the most vital and caring productive citizens and leaders. We are united in our shared values of compassion, democracy, and equity.
Asian Health Services
Asian American Advancing Justice - Los Angeles
Asian Americans for Community Involvement
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific Islander for Civic Empowerment
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Asian Prisoner Support Committee
Alameda Health Consortium
Alameda Labor Council
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization
Buena Vista United Methodist Church
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
Chinese for Affirmative Action - San Francisco
Chinese Progressive Association - San Francisco
East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
Filipino Advocates for Justice
Korean American Community Foundation - San Francisco
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
North East Medical Services
Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance
PIVOT - Progressive Vietnamese American Organization
Southeast Asian Resource Action Center
Rob Bonta, California Assemblymember, District 18
Tony Thurmond, California Assemblymember, District 15
Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 5
Wilma Chan, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 3
Keith Camacho, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
Lisa C. Ikemoto, Ph.D., University of California, Davis*
Jennifer Lee, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine*
Tung Nguyen, M.D., University of California, San Francisco*
Ninez Ponce, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
Karthick Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside*
Lok Siu, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley*
Lois Takahashi, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
David K. Yoo, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
Min Zhou, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles*
*For identification purposes only.