Yesterday evening, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its long-rumored proposed regulation related to the public charge test. The proposed rule significantly expands the public charge test to punish immigrants for accessing a wide range of federal programs, including SNAP and Medicaid. However, WIC is not listed in the proposed rule. The proposed regulation is therefore narrower than the leaked drafts that were published in news outlets this past spring. While NWA staff continue to analyze the proposed rule, here are some key insights:
We know that clinics will be fielding renewed concerns from participants as the comment period opens. Clinics may wish to adapt this template press release to inform members of their community about the proposed rule and reassure participants that WIC continues to welcome all. NWA’s FAQs – last updated in May – also provide helpful context that may be useful to participants, but it is important to note that there are important distinctions to be made between the leaked drafts and the now-proposed regulation. NWA will be updating the FAQ document shortly and providing additional resources over the coming weeks to assist clinics. All materials will be made available on our Immigration Resources webpage.
The comment period is open until late November, and it will be imperative that WIC clinics speak out to reaffirm that WIC should not be considered in public charge determinations. DHS specifically asks for public comment on whether additional programs should be considered, and it is up to the WIC community to highlight the impact that this debate has already had on our clinics. Remember: Regulatory commenting is not lobbying. In the coming weeks, NWA will be providing template comments and op-eds on the Immigration Resources webpage to assist all interested in speaking out on behalf of affected WIC families.
NWA will continue to update members on the public charge rule as we enter the comment period. Thank you for your continued commitment to this program and all of the families that we serve.