Comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Proposed Amendments to Its Public Charge Regulations.
On December 10, Enterprise submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on proposed amendments to its public charge – a term by U.S. immigration officials to refer to a person who is considered primarily dependent on the government for subsistence – regulations. These changes would significantly expand the definition of a public benefit to include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as any federal housing assistance including participation in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program or the Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance Program, and residency in any HUD-funded Public Housing development. Our comments point out that as a partner in the community development process, we oppose the amendments to the current public charge, which could lead to higher application denial rates for noncitizens seeking admission to the U.S., noncitizens applying for lawful permanent resident status and those seeking an extension of or changes to their non-immigrant status. This comment letter notes that the unintended consequences of this rule change will be deeply destabilizing to these communities, prompting some to forgo their legal right to benefits out of fear of hindering the entry and change of status applications of their family members.