Updated October 15, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC —  Today, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) sent a letter signed by 93 bipartisan mayors from 29 states and the District of Columbia to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calling on her to drop the proposed expansion of the “public charge” rule.

In the letter, the mayors state, “The new regulations take this principle to an extreme and, if adopted, would ultimately punish immigrants for accessing non-cash benefits designed to help families succeed and thrive in the United States. In our view, this proposal will compromise children’s health, nutrition, and development; impact access to health care; reduce housing options; and negatively affect our local economies.  It will force families to choose between the help they need and the people they love. Further, by disrupting many people’s pathways to citizenship, the proposed rule would also deprive immigrants and cities alike of the well-documented benefits of naturalization on earnings, employment, and homeownership.”

See the full text of the updated letter here.

“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 proposed changes are creating unnecessary fear and confusion throughout our cities now and will hurt our people, our cities and our nation by limiting immigrants’ growth and economic prosperity. The U.S. Conference of Mayors will do everything possible to stop this proposed policy from taking effect,” said Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin, USCM President.

“I’m a strong believer in self-sufficiency. I also believe it’s right to support people during the most desperate times of their lives and provide them a reasonable opportunity to thrive in this country. Historically, our nation has flourished as a result,” said Rochester Hills (MI) Mayor Bryan Barnett, USCM Vice President.

“America is about giving everyone a chance to lift themselves up, take care of their families, and chase their dreams — and our government should never be in the business of punishing people who may need a little help making sure their kids are safe, fed, and have a roof over their heads,” said Los Angeles (CA) Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chair of USCM’s Latino Alliance. “Creating fear and targeting legal immigrants who follow the rules does nothing to increase our security or strengthen our economy — it is nothing less than a public disgrace.”

“This proposal is another perversion of our most basic values. It is un-American to penalize families for seeking help, plain and simple. On behalf of the ultimate city of immigrants, I pledge to join other Mayors from around the country to fight this with everything we’ve got,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chair of USCM’s Cities of Opportunity Task Force.

“The Trump Administration’s proposed adjustments to the public charge policy is an attack on otherwise law-abiding immigrant families. By radically expanding the list of programs considered, this proposal deliberately places an obstacle to lawful status before immigrant families, including those with U.S. citizen children, who qualify for and access critical benefits and services. This will inevitably lead to more poverty, hunger, and unmet healthcare needs for Providence residents. I’m proud to join a wave of national leaders in opposing this proposal and ask the Administration to withdraw its misguided proposal,” said Providence (RI) Mayor Jorge Elorza, Co-Chair of USCM’s Immigration Reform Task Force.