Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., today introduced legislation that would prohibit using federal funds to implement, administer or enforce the Department of Homeland Security’s public charge rule. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif, in June. When making immigration determinations, the government considers whether someone can support themselves financially or if they are at risk for becoming a “public charge,” that is, primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Effective Oct. 15, the DHS final rule expands the types of programs that can contribute to a public charge determination to include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and select housing programs. The AHA recently filed friend-of-the-court briefs in cases challenging the rule in federal courts in California and Washington state.

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