Public Charge changes will make hunger worse for families across the nation

Updated August 22, 2019

Oregon declared thirty years ago that “all people have the right to be free from hunger.” There should be no exceptions. This morning, the White House announced that they finalized a policy, called Public Charge, that creates an unjust and morally bankrupt exception.

It is an attack on immigrants and on people living in poverty. 

Make no mistake—when you hear “public charge” think of a wall. Instead of steel and concrete, this wall has been built with pen and paper. The intent is the same.

The Trump administration is weaponizing policies to send immigrant families one message: if you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome here.

The new “Public Charge” rule will punish documented, tax-paying immigrants and their familiesblocking them from going through the official immigration processjust for receiving benefits for which they are legally eligible. For the first time ever, this will include if they use SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and housing assistance to help make ends meet. We are talking about basic needs to feed our children and keep our families healthy. 

We stand with our partners, like the Protect Immigrant Families Coalition, and echo the outrage that Trump’s public charge regulation puts money above family, forcing millions of families to choose between the things they need and the people they love.

The best way to build a strong country is to ensure that the families who live here have the food, medical care, shelter and other basics they need to thrive. 

It’s important to note that although this policy doesn’t change who is eligible for SNAP, it will punish some who utilize it by factoring income and use of basic assistance into immigration decisions.

We are analyzing the policy today and coordinating with our Oregon and national partners–we will share more with you in the coming days. There will likely be legal and legislative efforts to halt or at least mitigate the policy from harming families. 

Hunger-Free Oregon will be coming out with more details about what this proposed rule means for families in Oregon, particularly the impact on people utilizing SNAP, and tools to take action.

Actions against this unjust policy

Community education resources

We want to make sure that accurate information is going out about the changes to public charge in our community. Below are a few resources to help. We’ll keep adding to these resources as more becomes available. 

Oregon-specific resources