AAP Opposes Trump Policy That Makes It Harder For Immigrant Kids To Receive Healthcare

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is horrified by the Trump administration’s cruel “public charge” rule

Another day, another breathtakingly cruel bit of immigration reform being pushed by the administration of President Donald Trump. This time, he’s specifically targeting immigrants who are in the United States legally but whose financial situation makes them more likely to need government benefit programs such as food stamps and subsidized housing. Because this administration’s cruelty truly knows no bounds.

They’re so cruel, in fact, that the American Academy of Pediatrics is speaking out against them.

Under the updated rule, known as the “public charge” rule, the financial solvency of immigrants here legally on temporary visas will now be more deeply assessed when they apply for a green card. Aside from their financial status, applicants will be assessed for a variety of other factors including their age, health, family status, assets, and educational background. The AAP issued an official statement detailing their concerns.

​”The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes the final rule issued today to expand the definition of what it means to be a ‘public charge,’ making it harder for immigrants to enter the United States and advance through the immigration process. Make no mistake: this rule is a threat to the health of immigrant children and families,” they write.

They explain the actual impact of this needlessly cruel policy on families. “The rule considers the use of public programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and housing assistance in this definition, forcing immigrant families into an impossible choice: keep your family healthy but risk being separated, or forgo vital services so your family can remain together in this country. This is really not a choice at all,” they said.

Their concerns center around the fact that this rule will absolutely stop immigrant families from seeking needed healthcare — and doctors are starting to see the fallout. “Of course, this rule comes at a time of relentless hardship for immigrant families in the United States as a result of policies put forth by this Administration that harm their health and safety. The public charge rule further intimidates these families and expands on the chilling effects pediatricians have seen across the country ever since the proposed rule was issued, with families disenrolling from or avoiding critical health programs and services they are eligible for.”

We already heard about El Paso shooting victims deciding against seeking treatment for their wounds because they were afraid for their immigration status. The AAP is right to voice their concerns.

The new rule clearly states that the U.S. wants to accept immigrants who can support themselves, and not those who would “depend on public resources to meet their needs.” According to the New York Times, an immigrant’s ability to support themselves and their family has long been a consideration when it comes to whether they are allowed a green card. But the Trump administration’s updated policy will make their financial status a far bigger consideration.

“We urge the Administration to reverse this public charge final rule, which will not only carry serious consequences for the children and families impacted, but also our country; we must support the health of all children if we are to reach our full potential as a nation,” the AAP pleads.

The regulation is set to go into effect in 60 days.

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