Income Test is Vicious, Immoral Proposal
Would Force Impossible Choice Upon Families

QUEENS, NY – Queens, where immigrants make up nearly half of its 2.3 million residents, is the most diverse county in the country. Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule change that would render immigrants who receive certain forms of public assistance (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP and Section 8 vouchers) potentially ineligible for U.S. permanent residency (Green Card):

“Let’s call this misguided, anti-immigrant proposal for what it is: an income test for pursuit of the American Dream. Forcing people to make a choice between food on the table or a roof over their heads or access to health coverage – and a Green Card? It is a vicious, immoral proposal to force such an impossible choice upon any family, and it is un-American. This would potentially compel hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers either deeper into the shadows or deeper into poverty, which in turn jeopardizes the health, safety and well-being of all New Yorkers. And let’s not forget the 68,000 Queens children who come from mixed-status families where a U.S. citizen is entitled to these benefits, and where the family could face separation resulting from such an impossible choice.”

In September 2018, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would significantly broaden the criteria it could use to label an immigrant applying for legal residency as a “public charge.” The rule change was published in the Federal Register earlier today, kicking off a 60-day public comment period.

Borough President Katz strongly encourages members of the public to submit comment through the national Protecting Immigrant Families campaign at

Attached is a “public charge” community information guide published by the New York Immigration Coalition in various languages. Please share the information widely.

Follow Borough President Katz via @QueensBPKatz on Twitter and Facebook