The Comment Period Has Ended

NOTE: This regulation has not gone into effect. DHS must review every single unique comment submitted before publishing a final rule. If and when a final rule is published, there will be at least 60 days before it takes effect.

What is Public Charge?

Under current policy, participation in a very narrow range of programs is counted against legal immigrants applying for legal permanent residency. This policy is referred to as “Public Charge”.

What is the proposed rule change?

Under a proposed rule change, the Public Charge policy would be expanded to include participation in basic programs like SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid (possibly including the Children’s Health Insurance Program), prescription medications under Medicare Part D, and housing assistance.

Why does it matter to Oklahoma?

This proposed rule change could directly harm 272,586 Oklahomans97,169 of which are children. The negative effects are far reaching and could:

  • Increase obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children, and reduced prescription adherence.
  • Lead to Oklahoma families forgoing nutritional assistance like SNAP and Free and Reduced Price School Meals out of fear of jeopardizing their citizenship.
  • Force families to choose between getting the help they need and remaining in their homes.
  • Lower educational attainment due to the by-products of Oklahoma families not participating and utilizing SNAP benefits, Medicaid health coverage, and housing assistance.

Additional Talking Points

The rule change would…

Education

  • Lower educational attainment due to the by-products of Oklahoma families not participating and utilizing SNAP benefits, Medicaid health coverage, and housing assistance.
  • Increase rates of absenteeism in students because of increased illness/injury.
  • Decrease federal reimbursements because of students not participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and SNAP.
  • Read the National Education Association’s statement opposing the rule change.

Healthcare

  • Lead to a broad decrease in participation in Medicaid and other programs.
  • Increase obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children, and reduced prescription adherence.
  • Increase the use of emergency rooms which in turn would lay the groundwork for higher health spending at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
  • Read the American Medical Association’s statement opposing the rule change.

Housing

  • Force families to choose between getting the help they need and remaining in their homes.
  • Deter many eligible immigrant families from seeking housing and homelessness benefits. Those already participating in these programs will feel compelled to give up the lifeline assistance that keeps their families one step away from homelessness.
  • Reduce overall housing options for Oklahoma families.
  • Read the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s statement opposing the rule change.

Hunger

Places of Worship

  • Deny families access to even the most basic human needs assistance food and shelter.
  • Go against every faithful teaching to ensure those who are strangers are welcomed, those who are homeless are sheltered, and those who are hungry are fed.
  • Negate the tenets of our faith traditions to welcome and love our neighbors, and also to care for our children.
  • Increase poverty, homelessness, and hunger amongst our Oklahoma families.
  • Read the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s statement opposing the rule change.