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SABA North America Opposes Anti-Immigrant Expansion of “Public Charge”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anjula Singh
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For Immediate Release, August 13, 2019




The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a final rule on Monday, August 12, 2019, that will deter new, legal, immigrants from coming to the U.S. and which reinterprets a fundamental concept in immigration law.  SABA North America stands firm in its opposition to this rule and any others that aim to deter legal immigrants to this country. 


“This rule is a message to legal immigrants that they are unwelcome and unwanted if the U.S. deems them to be too young, too old, too poor, or not able-bodied,” said President Aneesh Mehta.


Under the final rule, the definition of a “public charge” would include an immigrant “who receives one or more public benefits,” and examine whether the person is likely to receive public benefits at any time in the future.  Further, the changes will take a “bright line rule” and turn it into more a subjective assessment, making decisions almost impossible to legally challenge.  While the final rule does modify the proposed rule by recognizing and not necessarily punishing the short-term use of public benefits in some cases, the rule and the intent behind it remain fundamentally misguided.


The changes will skew immigration to this country to be based predominately on one’s wealth rather than one’s overall potential contribution to the community. It also penalizes anyone who has accepted public benefits, including benefits provided by law and those previously otherwise excluded. Immigrants who use programs designed to help with health, nutrition and housing are now in danger of being denied permanent residency or citizenship.  According to a 2018 Migration Policy Institute Report, 61% of non-citizen Bangladeshi families, 48% of non-citizen Pakistani and 11% of non-citizen Indian families receive public benefits that would be scrutinized under the rule. 


With yesterday's publication of the public charge rule, SABA North America plans to work with other organizations in monitoring the results of the rule and will continue to oppose it and publicize it's adverse affects.




SABA North America (formerly NASABA/North American South Asian Bar Association) is a voluntary bar organization and serves as an umbrella organization to 27 chapters in the United States and Canada. SABA North America is a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement for South Asian attorneys in North America and seeks to protect the rights and liberties of the South Asian community across the continent. Learn more at


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