Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Informs Families of Possible Challenges They Could Face Because of Public Charge Rule Change Proposed by Trump Administration
Oakland (press release from OUSD) – At a time when immigrants are increasingly feeling threatened by the U.S. government, now comes word that the Trump administration wants to make becoming permanent residents or citizens harder for even more people. OUSD families and people across Oakland and the Bay Area need to know the details of this plan, that there is time for them to work to stop the change, and what to know if the rule change takes effect.
For immigrants pursuing citizenship or permanent resident status in the United States, the Public Charge rule change – which was publicly proposed by the Trump administration in October – could potentially bar recipients of public benefits from obtaining legal status. It would prevent a much wider range of immigrants who receive public benefits from obtaining a green card. While a version of public charge currently exists, the proposed rule change would greatly expand the definition of “public charge” to include non-citizens who participate in applicable health, nutrition or housing support programs OR who fall below the low income level (in addition to other factors).
It is critical that families know that if they have concerns about receiving benefits, before disenrolling they should speak with a lawyer. This proposed rule change would NOT penalize the parents of children who receive any type of benefits, therefore would not include school-based benefits (e.g., the lunch program at OUSD schools). Also, it is unrelated to deportation.
During the public comment period which ends on December 10, 2018, members of the public are encouraged to submit a unique comment which the government must then respond to. If a final rule is approved, there will be an additional waiting period before it is implemented to allow families to seek legal advice before making a decision to disenroll from benefits.
Key Points For Immigrant Families
– Nothing has changed. This rule is only at the proposal stage. It could still be prevented and may be delayed significantly if it does take effect.
– School-based benefits are not impacted in the proposed rule change. As such, the nutrition services (lunch program), school-based services and early childhood programs that serve immigrant students would not count against families.
– Certain groups such as refugees, asylees and students who receive DACA would be exempt if this rule is finalized.
OUSD stands in solidarity with all of our students and will do everything possible to support families regardless of the decision. For families needing more information, the National Immigration Law Center has released these multilingual talking points and Analysis/FAQs.