Only Wealthy Immigrants Need Apply: The Chilling Effects of “Public Charge”

David Dyssegaard Kallick, Cyierra Roldan and Marc Stier    |

The day the new public charge rule goes into effect, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the New York Fiscal Policy Institute are releasing a report demonstrating the harm it will create for Pennsylvania families, the Pennsylvania economy and state revenues.

The “public charge” inadmissability test has been part of federal immigration law for more than one hundred years. Federal law allows the government to deny permanent residence (a “green card”) to a person “likely at any time to become a public charge.” The Trump administration’s new regulations significantly stiffen this forward-looking test. The public charge rule will make it much more difficult for low- and moderate-income families to make their lives in the United States if they are considered likely to use public benefits such as nutrition, housing, and health care programs for which they may legally qualify.

Excluding people from being able to stay in the United States is only part of the problem of the new public charge rule. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the New York Fiscal Policy Institute also predict that the rule will have a widespread chilling effect on the willingness of millions of immigrants who are eligible for support to seek it. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Pennsylvania will be unnecessarily deterred from seeking critical services for themselves or their children. These programs help working families get through hard times, maintain their health, and raise children who thrive
The two groups estimate that between 15% and 25% of those eligible for safety net programs in Pennsylvania will not take advantage of them. That will lead to a loss of between $72 and $162 million in federal dollars, a decline in the Gross State Product (GSP) of between $135 and $314 million, and the loss of between 916 and 2,140 jobs.

The full report is below. Click here to download it.