OCA Outraged by Trump’s Rule Targeting Low income Immigrants


12 August 2019

Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Manager

202.223.5500 | tnguyen@ocanational.org

Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is outraged by the Trump administration’s final rule, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” which would deny green cards and visas to low-income immigrants who may use public aid after arriving in the United States.

The Trump Administration released its final public charge rule this morning that would restrict the legal immigration of low-income immigrants, green card seekers, and visa candidates. Applicants who use public aid, such as SNAP food stamps, Medicaid, or housing assistance can be categorized as a “public charge” and thereby denied the opportunity to apply for a visa or green card. The rule also allows age, education level, and pre-existing medical conditions to be considered as factors in determining admissibility to the United States, directly discriminating against the elderly, people with disabilities, and immigrants who come from low-income or low education backgrounds. The rule is scheduled to take effect on August 14, 2019, 60 days after its formal publication.

The new public charge rule also disproportionately affects U.S. citizen children whose parents are non-citizens. Fearing that usage of public aid will threaten the citizenship application, has caused mass disenrollment from critical nutrition and healthcare programs. In recent years, three out of every ten individuals obtaining permanent residency were from Asia and the Pacific Island nations, and one in three AAPIs are limited-English proficient. About 523,000 AAPIs who are not yet U.S. citizens are members of families that rely on SNAP. 

“It is clear that the Trump Administration has not read the inscription at the Statue of Liberty which says: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” said Rita Pin Ahrens, OCA National Executive Director. “The Trump Administration’s new rule on public charge is contrary to our long-standing  American values of liberty and providing humanitarian aid both inside and outside of our borders. OCA will continue to fight against this cruel rule and the Administration’s efforts to deny and devalue the immigrant communities that this country was built upon.”


OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).