The Queens lawmaker representing Jackson Heights — a neighborhood where nearly 200 foreign languages are spoken and immigrant rights rallies are held at Diversity Plaza — is railing against the Trump administration’s plan to bar immigrants who have benefitted from public assistance from attaining U.S. citizenship.
Councilman Daniel Dromm ripped the new “public charge” rule that allows the government to reject green cards and visas for individuals who are found likely to depend on public programs such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid.
“Poverty should never be a barrier to attaining citizenship. The United States has a long history of welcoming the poor,” Dromm said. “Inscribed in our very own Statue of Liberty are the indelible words, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ Our nation stands to lose a lot by this rule. We must never turn our backs on the economically distressed. As an elected official representing one of the most immigrant rich districts in New York, I will continue to do all that is in my power to fight back against this terrible rule.”
Dromm’s not alone in critiquing the Trump administration in thinking of this new immigration policy as being “un-American.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng has been fighting against the new policy since it was first proposed last year saying it would have dire consequences for immigrants communities like Flushing where families would be forced to choose between maintaining their legal status and daily necessities such as food, healthcare and housing.
“President Trump’s public charge rule is another ruthless and callous attack on immigrant communities. This cruel and un-American plan penalizes those who are in the U.S. legally,” Meng said. “Just recently, we witnessed immigrants being targeted and gunned down, and President Trump’s raids separating children from their parents. Now the president wants to weaponize basic human services to continue his assault against immigrants.”
When the rule change was first announced last year it received more than 200,000 public comments online and the majority were against the policy that will go into effect Oct. 15.
“Over the last year, I have urged the president to not implement this inhumane policy and today I call on him to abandon this reckless effort,” Meng added. “Hard working immigrants enrich our communities and contribute to our economy and nation. We cannot allow them to be kicked to the curb by this president.”
Hours after the new policy was announced Monday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James called the policy one more example of the White House turning its back on people fighting to make a better life for them and their families.
“Under this rule, children will go hungry; families will go without medical care,” James said. “I am committed to defending all of New York’s communities, which is why I intend to sue the Trump Administration over this egregious rule.”
At City Hall, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is preparing to help immigrants navigate the legal minefield.
“If you are worried or have questions about how this ‘public charge’ could impact you and your loved ones. You can callActionNYC at 311 or 1-800-354-0365 and say ‘public charge’ to access city-funded, trusted legal advice,” MOIA Commissioner Bitta Mostofi said. “The city is here to help you make the right decision for you and your family.”