Tuesday, September 17 at Queens Borough Hall

QUEENS, NY – In the wake of the federal government’s latest attack on immigrant families and move to restrict legal immigration, Borough President Katz and the New York Immigration Coalition announced an upcoming Queens Town Hall on the new “Public Charge” rule, to take place on Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 at 5:30pm at Queens Borough Hall.

“This cruel, anti-immigrant policy will do little more than push immigrant families in Queens and across this country further into poverty and further into the shadows through the creation of an income test for the pursuit of the American Dream. By forcing families to choose between legal residency and food on the table, medical care or a roof over their head, we are endangering not only their well-being, but that of all New Yorkers,” said Borough President KATZ. “This Town Hall will aim to dispel any myths and misconceptions about this rule, while counteracting the chilling effects it may have on communities.”

“We are proud to partner with the Queens Borough President’s Office to inform and share resources with our immigrant communities about the new ‘public charge’ rule,” said MURAD AWAWDEH, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Strategy of the New York Immigration Coalition. “While our communities continue to be under attack from the Trump Administration, we will keep working to empower our communities with information and direct them to reliable, free resources to navigate changes to the ‘public charge’ rule.”

The September 17th town hall will be held just under one month before the federal government’s new immigration policy on who can be labeled a “public charge” is scheduled to go into effect on October 15th, pending a legal challenge by a number of states, including New York.

Under current law, immigrants applying for entry into the United States or for lawful permanent residency can be denied and labeled a “public charge” for participating or being seen as likely to participate in various federal, state or local cash assistance programs, or for receiving long term institutional care.

However, the federal government’s new guidance — which does not apply to refugees, those seeking asylum or those granted asylum — would significantly expand the criteria for who can be labeled a “public charge” to include immigrants who participate or are seen as likely to participate in federal public benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid or Section 8 housing assistance.

In September 2018, the Department of Homeland Security issued its proposal to significantly broaden the criteria it could use to label an immigrant applying for legal residency as a “public charge.” The proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register in October 2018.

During the ensuing public comment period, more than 266,000 individuals submitted comments to the Federal Register — the overwhelming majority of whom were opposed to the proposed change — including Borough President Katz, who stated the following:

“The proposed rule change would disproportionately impact the borough of Queens. We are the most ethnically and racially diverse county in the United States. Almost half (47.8%) of our population is foreign-born. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 68,000 children in Queens County live in mixed-status families the highest proportion in all of New York State,” wrote Borough President KATZ. “I am deeply concerned that the threat of this new rule would have a chilling effect on these families temporarily in need of assistance, resulting in them opting not to apply for government help for their eligible relatives who are U.S. citizens.”

“Without SNAP and housing assistance, children would fall behind in school. In an emergency, constituents would be afraid to turn to their government for help,” continued Borough President KATZ. “The proposed expansion of the public charge determination would compromise our ability to build public trust.”


WHAT:          Queens Town Hall on New Public Charge Rule hosted by Borough President Katz and the New York Immigration Coalition

WHEN:          Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 5:30pm

WHERE:        Queens Borough Hall

                       Helen Marshall Cultural Center

                       120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens

WHO:              MELINDA KATZ, Queens Borough President

                       New York Immigration Coalition

Follow Borough President Katz via @QueensBPKatz on Twitter and Facebook