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ACR-1 Immigration: public charges.(2019-2020)

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Revised  March 21, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 06, 2019


Assembly Concurrent Resolution
No. 1

Introduced by Assembly Member Bonta
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Calderon, Carrillo, Chiu, Chu, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Gloria, Gonzalez, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Levine, Limón, Low, McCarty, Rendon, Reyes, Luz Rivas, Rodriguez, Santiago, Ting, and Weber Weber, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Burke, Cervantes, Chau, Cooley, Daly, Eggman, Frazier, Friedman, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Grayson, Irwin, Kamlager-Dove, Medina, Mullin, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Petrie-Norris, Quirk, Ramos, Robert Rivas, Blanca Rubio, Salas, Smith, Mark Stone, Wicks, and Wood)
(Coauthors: Senators Beall, Bradford, and Hueso Hueso, and Wiener)

December 03, 2018

Relative to the Immigration and Nationality Act.


ACR 1, as amended, Bonta. Immigration: public charges.
This measure would condemn regulations proposed by the Department of Homeland Security to prescribe how a determination of an alien’s inadmissability inadmissibility for a person who is not a citizen or national is made based on the likelihood that the alien person will become a public charge. This measure would also urge the federal government to reconsider and roll back the proposed regulations.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Under Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an individual seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust status and obtain lawful permanent residence may be deemed inadmissible or denied permanent residence if the individual, at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a “public charge”; and
WHEREAS, The current guidelines for making a “public charge” determination only consider critical cash assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is implemented in California through the CalWORKs program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and programs supporting individuals who are institutionalized for long-term care, such as in a nursing home or institutional care facility; and
WHEREAS, On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register to propose new regulations regarding “public charge” determinations; and
WHEREAS, The proposed regulations would discard longstanding policy about the meaning of “public charge” and expand the list of benefits considered when making that determination to include Medicaid, with certain exceptions for emergency care, the Medicare Part D, D Low Income Subsidy, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 housing vouchers, and other federally subsidized housing programs; and
WHEREAS, The proposed broadening of benefits considered when making “public charge” determinations threatens to deny eligible immigrant applicants a green card if they are a person below a certain income level, or access critical health care, nutrition, or other federally funded programs; and
WHEREAS, For all people, health care access, housing, and nutrition assistance helps them and their families stay healthy, work, thrive, and contribute to society; and
WHEREAS, California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, constituting 27 percent of the state’s population, and the proposed regulations single out immigrant families; and
WHEREAS, Immigrants in California contribute billions of dollars in federal, state, and local taxes to help support all government programs, including fifty-six billion five hundred million dollars ($56,000,000,000) $56,500,000,000 in federal taxes and twenty-six billion four hundred million dollars ($26,400,000,000) $26,400,000,000 in state and local taxes in 2014; and
WHEREAS, The proposed regulations could lead to extensive disenrollment from public benefit programs that could result in one hundred fifty-one million dollars ($151,000,000) $151,000,000 of lost state and local tax revenue and two billion eight hundred million dollars ($2,800,000,000) $2,800,000,000 in lost economic output; and
WHEREAS, The proposed regulations would consider whether immigrants use programs related to health and well-being in deciding whether to deny an immigrant entry into the United States or lawful permanent residence; and
WHEREAS, The proposed regulations would create a bright-line income threshold when making public charge determinations. If an immigrant’s income is below that threshold, it would be considered a negative factor in that determination, regardless of whether the immigrant uses any of the enumerated benefits, thereby targeting low-income working immigrants and disproportionately affecting people of color and low-wage laborers; and
WHEREAS, The proposed regulations weigh English proficiency as an additional factor to be considered in “public charge” determinations, thereby singling out immigrants with limited English language proficiency and immigrants from countries where English is not a primary language rather than increasing access to programs that serve English language learners; and
WHEREAS, California is stronger when residents in need are able to access its safety net without fear for themselves, their family, or their future; and
WHEREAS, Over 70 percent of the lives touched by the proposed regulations are children; and
WHEREAS, One in two children in California have at least one immigrant parent; and
WHEREAS, Investing in nutrition, health care, and other essential needs keeps children learning, parents working, families strong, and allows all of us to contribute fully to our communities; and
WHEREAS, Already, low-income children with immigrant parents are less likely to receive SNAP or Medicaid than are children whose parents were born in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Since 1996, federal law has locked out many immigrants from accessing federal programs, including full-scope Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), SNAP, TANF, and SSI, for at least five years; and
WHEREAS, California recognizes the value of these safety net services and has proactively responded to unjust federal restrictions; and
WHEREAS, California expanded access to full-scope Medi-Cal to newly-qualified immigrants, DACA beneficiaries, and undocumented children, and ensured access to critical safety net assistance for some Californians excluded by federal policies; and
WHEREAS, The fear of being deemed a “public charge” and denied lawful permanent residence or entry to the United States, or potentially being subject to deportation for seeking essential benefits for which they are eligible, creates additional fear, anxiety, and confusion among immigrant Californians, particularly given the recent draconian and intimidating policies of the federal government; and
WHEREAS, The proposed federal regulations run contrary to California’s values and bipartisan efforts that recognize the significance and value of integrating immigrant populations into the state, including in areas related to health care, education, and safety net access; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature condemns the regulatory changes proposed by the federal government, which undermine California’s critical safety net programs and the well-being of our communities; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the federal government to reconsider and roll back the proposed changes, which target California’s most vulnerable communities and will undoubtedly harm the social and economic well-being of the state and the nation for generations to come; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.

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