Implications of Proposed Changes to Public Charge Immigration Rules on Children

In JAMA Pediatrics’ July 2019 edition, an article looks at the implications of the proposed rule changes to federal “Public Charge” guidelines utilized in the immigration process. “The proposed changes are expected to cause many immigrant parents to disenroll their families from safety-net programs, in large part because of fear and confusion about the rule, even among families to whom the rule does not technically apply.”

Researchers “used nationally representative data from 4007 children” to “assess their potential risk of losing benefits because they live with a noncitizen adult.” They found that “a total of 8.3 million children who are currently enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP or receiving SNAP benefits are potentially at risk of disenrollment.” In addition, 5.5 million of those children “have specific medical needs” including asthma, epilepsy, cancer, or disabilities or functional limitations. The researchers conclude “the proposed public charge rule would likely cause millions of children to lose health and nutrition benefits, including many with specific medical needs that, if left untreated, may contribute to child deaths and future disability.”

For more information and to view the abstract, click here.