Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and 26 Senate Democrats introduced the Protect American Values Act – legislation that would prohibit the Trump Administration from using federal funding to implement its so-called “Public Charge” rule. Scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019, the “Public Charge” rule aims to prevent immigrants from coming to or staying in the United States based on their wealth, family size, age, skills, level of education, or ability to speak English.
“This is another cruel attack on vulnerable children and immigrants. This obscene rule will do nothing to fix our immigration system. It will only ensure that families, who are legal U.S. residents, fear asking for needed assistance, and that children go without healthcare, vital nutrition assistance and housing.” said Senator Casey.
The Protect American Values Act has 26 Senate co-sponsors, including: Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
“The true intent behind the administration’s public charge rule is to create a climate of fear to terrorize immigrant families, and it’s working. I’ve heard from a number of hardworking, taxpaying immigrants in Hawaii, many not even subject to the rule, who are afraid to see their doctor or access essential services,” Senator Hirono said. “Instead of harming immigrant families seeking a better life, our bill protects them. Our bill keeps families together. And our bill supports the rich diversity that has enabled our country to thrive and excel throughout its history. I’m proud that 26 of my colleagues support this legislation already, and I will continue working towards passing it.”
“From threatening to deport children with cancer, to zeroing out refugee admissions, the Trump administration is undermining a fundamental value of this country: that America welcomes everyone regardless of their country of origin,” Senator Markey said. “Immigrants helped build this great nation. We must take a stand against these cruel and inhumane policies at every turn. Federal funds should not use to implement a policy that’s sole purpose is to punish vulnerable immigrants and their families.”
“As someone who grew up in poverty, relying on food stamps to survive, I’m appalled by the Trump Administration’s cruel, heartless and un-American ‘public charge’ rule,” Senator Duckworth said. “My mother is an immigrant and if this proposal had been in place then, my family might have had to choose between getting her citizenship or going hungry. I’m proud to join my colleagues as we fight this dangerous policy from taking place.”
“Since coming to office, President Trump has waged an all-out assault on America’s immigrant tradition. From separating children at the border, to seizing parents in school parking lots—the administration has made a policy of cruelty,” Senator Bennet said. “The so-called ‘public charge’ rule is the administration’s latest example, stoking fear in immigrant communities and forcing people to make an impossible choice between the health and well-being of their families and their future immigration status. Our bill sends a clear message that we will not stand for yet another blatant attack on immigrant communities.”
“Trump’s latest move to restrict LEGAL immigration punishes immigrants eligible for green cards and other visas for not being wealthy. This rule will force immigrants to choose between pursuing legal residency or weathering tough times. Frightening people away from critical resources will compromise families and communities across our country, it’s cruel and un-American,” Senator Menendez said. “The Protect American Values Act will stop the Trump Administration from unilaterally reshaping our legal immigration system. Immigrants aspiring to become legal residents should be judged on their efforts and contributions to our country, not by the color of their skin or how much money they have in their bank account.”