Our immigrant neighbors are losing access to critical services and living in fear

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: May 3, 2019

Two policy changes from the Trump administration are having major impacts on our immigrant communities and instilling fear and uncertainty among families.

First, children and families nationwide are already feeling the impact of the proposed public charge test—even though the rule has yet to take effect. As we shared with you last year, this proposal forces families to make an impossible choice between accessing essential services or keeping their families together.

The rule is set to take effect later this year, but families are already opting out of services and programs for which they are eligible, in an effort to avoid anything that could hurt their chances of moving through the process to become a U.S. citizen. Health care providers have experienced increases in missed appointments for well-child visits; there have been fewer calls to local law enforcement for community support; and programs such as SNAP, WIC, TANF and other non-cash programs have seen significant enrollment declines.

This rule threatens kids’ and families’ abilities to access what they need to live healthy lives. It inhibits self-sufficiency and destroys the safety and well-being that families have worked so hard to obtain. Several national and statewide organizations have launched campaigns to educate families and share resources so that families know their rights. Visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website for more information by clicking here.

An increase in detention and deportation of mothers and fathers in our communities is also disrupting children’s lives. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation describes these outcomes. It found that having a family member detained or deported decreased financial security for families, increased stress, anxiety and depression for kids, and in some cases led to developmental regression and struggling in school.

The public charge rule proposal compounds these challenges because families of people who have been detained or deported are less financially secure, yet afraid that accessing benefits for which they are eligible will make it harder for them to be reunited with their family member.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.