Governor Lamont and DSS Commissioner Blast Trump Administration on Proposed Regulations Penalizing Immigrants
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford today released the following statements criticizing the Trump administration for proposed regulations that would dramatically cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the United States and favor those who are wealthy:
Governor Lamont said, “This new rule targets vulnerable immigrant families who are legally pursuing the American dream and forces them to forgo public services in order to stay on the path to citizenship. This cruel policy will cause many eligible and needy families – including children and U.S. citizens – to go without essential food, housing, and medical services. When families lack housing and medical care, when children go to school hungry, when parents go to work sick, all of our Connecticut communities pay the price.”
Commissioner Gifford said, “The Trump administration’s proposed rule change will harm Connecticut and our state’s immigrant community. This new rule will cause immigrant families legally pursuing the American dream to forgo essential medical and nutrition services in order to stay on the path to citizenship. It is a particularly cruel discrimination against legal immigrants of lesser means. Just as one in four Connecticut residents access these essential services and benefits, our legal immigrant families must also have access without fear of draconian repercussions from capricious federal immigration action.
“As the administration acknowledged in its original proposal and now brushes aside in finalizing this rule, the insidious chilling effect of this rule would cause many eligible and needy families – including children and U.S. citizens – to go without essential food and medical services. When children go to school hungry, parents go to work sick, and families stop accessing critical services, all of our Connecticut communities pay the price.
“Although certain categories of non-citizens admitted for humanitarian purposes such as refugees and asylees have always been excluded from the public charge analysis, the rule is so complex and likely to be misunderstood that even excluded immigrant groups are likely to forgo benefits.
“In addition to undermining Connecticut’s efforts to build strong and healthy families, this rule will shift costs from the federal government to our state and local communities. When legal immigrant families choose to avoid the new penalties associated with having public health insurance, they will instead seek essential care from state and local community health providers that will not be able to get reimbursed through Medicaid.
“Instead of using SNAP to ensure that their families are eating nutritious meals, hungry families will rely on food banks and soup kitchens. When parents avoid public benefit programs out of fear and confusion, their children will lose access to free and reduced price lunches through the federal Direct Certification program. Hunger does not simply dissipate, illness does not cure itself. This rule will simply force legal immigrant families to endure unnecessary harm during their pursuit of citizenship.
“We oppose this cruel and unnecessary rule, and support efforts by Attorney General Tong and our Congressional delegation to prevent it from going into effect.”