Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin on the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the Public Charge rule and its impact on the country’s immigrant communities:

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors in June unanimously adopted policy opposing the Trump administration’s proposal to penalize lower income immigrant families by denying them visas and green cards because they have received vital non-cash benefits to which they are legally entitled.

“The Administration’s proposal to broaden the definition of what constitutes a public charge will not only reduce the number of legal immigrants coming to this country and applying for legal permanent resident status, but also discourage millions of people, including U.S. citizen children, from accessing needed benefits and services for which they are eligible.

“This proposal will compromise children’s health, nutrition and development; impact access to health care for legal immigrants and citizens alike; reduce housing options; and negatively affect our local economies.  Make no mistake: the consequences will be dire and will force families to choose between the things they need and the people they love.  The proposal is misguided and will hurt our people, our cities, and our nation.

“As mayors, we see firsthand, every day, the positive impact that immigrants have on our communities.  They contribute in countless ways to our economic and cultural strength.  Our cities and our great nation were built by immigrants and are continually reenergized by them. This proposal denies our history and jeopardizes our future.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors will do everything possible to stop this proposed policy from taking effect.”