This current federal administration chooses to “otherize” more of our immigrant brothers and sisters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security can deny a green card or even initiate deportation for anyone “who is likely at any time to use or receive one or more public benefits.”
This “otherizes” green card applicants and their dependents. It does not just include a laundry list of new possible benefits received (from Medicaid, SNAP, Housing benefits and considers income, education and language proficiency) but even benefits applied for. This change in public charge could affect 20 million people.
If these criteria were in place when my family came to the U.S. and we needed Medicaid benefits or housing assistance, then it’s likely we would have been denied a green card that would have affected our application for citizenship. My life would have been drastically altered; my experiences completely nullified.
This is a decisive time where we are being confronted with the choice to discard immigrants as “other” or to follow the Christian sacred text to engage them as neighbor. You and I have a choice.
We need to recognize that a person seeking help as an immigrant could be facing one of the most challenging periods of their lives. Please support the work of informed service providers, who advocate for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. For those experiencing displacement, social isolation, mental illness, food insecurity, domestic abuse and addiction, people working with these poor people provide health, justice, and hope.
Will you stand with me and be a neighbor to those who need us most?