Proposed Public Charge a threat to immigrants with disabilities

Progress Center for Independent Living opposes the new “Public Charge” rule proposed by the US Department of Homeland Security.  The rule change, if enacted, would be devastating to immigrants, including immigrants with disabilities.

The new rule would discourage and prevent many disabled immigrants from entering the United States, cutting them off from opportunity, from healthcare resources, and in some cases cutting them off from life-saving health and safety.   Under the new rule, immigrants could be denied entry into the United States if they use, or if they are considered to be “likely” users, of public benefits.

The proposed rule would impact immigrants seeking opportunity, safe haven, and reunification with their families.  Specifically for those with disabilities, the proposed rule cuts off the possibility of seeking medical treatment not available to them otherwise, and makes unavailable Medicaid services that allow people with disabilities to live in their own homes and be active participants in their communities.

“The proposed rule would have a terrible impact on people who want to enter the United States and who are disabled,” said Horacio Esparza, Executive Director of Progress Center for Independent Living.  “The proposed rule discriminates against people with disabilities, and is another example of actions taken by the current White House administration that threatens the civil rights, inclusion, and well-being of people with disabilities and other marginalized populations.”

The proposed rule is opposed by disability groups nationwide.

The Arc of the United States wrote, “The proposed rule would exclude people from this country simply because they have a disability and may need supports.”

 The National Council on Independent Living wrote,The changes proposed would be devastating to immigrant families by making it harder for immigrants, and especially disabled and poor immigrants, to enter the US or become legal permanent residents. NCIL strongly opposes this proposal.”

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network wrote, “The Autistic Self Advocacy Network strongly condemns the Administration’s proposed “Public Charge” regulation, which discriminates against disabled and low-income immigrants and makes pathways to American citizenship contingent upon wealth and the absence of disability.”

“We applaud the leadership and advocacy of disability groups far and wide to oppose the Public Charge Proposal,” Esparza said.  “Progress Center will work with the community to ensure that immigrants with disabilities, and all immigrants, have access to opportunity and to services that support inclusion, independence, and equality.”

Progress Center urges The Trump Administration should immediately withdraw its proposal and instead advance policies that support—rather than undermine—the health of families and communities.

As a Center for Independent Living, Progress Center provides services and conducts advocacy that supports the independence of people with disabilities.  Progress Center serves Suburban Cook County. Progress Center is one of 22 Centers for Independent Living in Illinois.  For more information, contact 708-209-1500, or