The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing a rule that will make it harder for immigrants to enter or stay in the United States if they have or might have health conditions that require care. You can read all about it here.

Called the “Public Charge” rule, the DHS seeks to deny immigrants a green card if they are not self sufficient. Currently the rule prohibits green cards if an immigrant requires Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Social Security Income or institutional care. Now, DHS wants to add food assistance, non-emergency health care and housing to the list.

The new rule would have a chilling effect on immigrants using healthcare services in the United States out of fear that it would jeopardize their ability to stay in the country. This is a cruel rule that will lead to suffering and unnecessary deaths.

In “A New Threat To Immigrant’s Health – The Public Charge Rule,” the authors state:

“The potential impact of these changes is enormous. In 2016, about 43.7 million immigrants lived in the United States. If enacted, the new regulations would affect people seeking to move to the United States to be reunified with family members and to work, as well as lawfully present immigrants who hope to become legal permanent residents (green-card holders). One estimate suggests that nearly one third of U.S.-born persons could have their use of public benefits considered in the public-charge determination of a family member. This includes “10.4 million citizen children with at least one noncitizen parent.” Notably, unauthorized immigrants are not the primary target of the draft rule, since they are already ineligible for most federally funded public assistance. Instead, lawfully present immigrants would bear the brunt, as well as persons living in “mixed-status” families (those in which some members are citizens and others are not) and persons living abroad who wish to immigrate to the United States.”

In a recent study, the investigators found that overall, immigrants contribute more into the Medicare system than they take out of it, thus subsidizing the system, and pay more out of pocket for care than citizens. Immigrants account for only 10% of US healthcare spending while administrative costs from our complicated system account for 30% of US healthcare spending. If we want to cut healthcare costs, the humane approach is to quickly move to a single payer system such as National Improved Medicare for All.

Another study finds that immigrants pay more in private insurance premiums than they receive in benefits, therefore subsidizing that system too.

HOPE urges you to take action by submitting a comment to the DHS. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Go to The link should take you directly to the comment page. If it doesn’t, go to and enter this docket number into the search bar USCIS-2010-0012. Then choose the entry Inadmissability on Public Charge Grounds.
  2. Click on the Comment Now! button under primary documents.
  3. Enter as much personal information as you feel comfortable giving. The comment will be public.
  4. Follow the instructions to enter your comment about why you oppose the rule. It can be as short or as long as you like.

The deadline for submitting comments is December 10. Please share this with others.

Let’s protect the health of everyone!

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