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CAFP Statement on DHS Proposed Changes to Public Charge


The Trump Administration has issued a proposed regulation that changes how and whether immigrants can be determined to be a “public charge;” widens the scope of programs considered by the government in making such a determination; and dramatically lowers the bar for refusing admission or denying individuals green cards or US visas on this basis.
The proposed regulations have the potential to affect millions of immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that immigrants would lose up to $22.7 billion in federal and state benefits (over 10 years) because they dis-enroll from programs for which they are eligible. DHS also estimates costs of up to $129 million each year for immigrants and non-immigrants to complete the new paperwork and documentation requirements.
California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP), representing more than 10,000 family physicians in California, joins numerous medical associations representing hundreds of thousands of doctors across the country to express our deep concern and opposition to the public charge regulation. The proposed regulations would make it much more likely that lawfully present immigrants could be denied green cards or US visas, or even be deported, merely on the basis of seeking needed health services for them and their family, including those for which they are eligible.
Family physicians treat immigrants every day. CAFP believes communities are safer and healthier when all individuals, regardless of immigration status, have access to health care. It is CAFP policy that health care is a human right and every person has a right to comprehensive, high-quality health services delivered in a timely, culturally-competent and economically sustainable manner regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographic location, income, health status or immigration status.
Throughout the remainder of 2018 and into 2019, the CAFP Foundation, in collaboration with the Alameda Contra Costa Medical Association, San Francisco Marin Medical Society, American Academy of Pediatrics-California, Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, and Sonoma County Medical Society, will conduct an information and awareness campaign, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, so that physicians are aware of how these and possible future regulations affect patients, physicians and the public. The campaign includes live events and a media presence; a series of position papers and patient education pieces; webinars on a variety of topics; and a web resource center for California physicians, culminating with a live panel presentation at CAFP’s All Member Advocacy Meeting in March 2019. Watch your inbox for more information.