Rev. Greenaway: “It is no wonder so many communities fear this Administration, when it has leveraged federal assistance to shut immigrants and their families out from the American dream.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Natalie Mulloy
WASHINGTON – On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a final rule that expands the definition of public charge.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
“The National WIC Association stands against the Administration’s unprecedented expansion of the public charge. This sweeping attack on immigrant families – including those who are seeking to comply with the byzantine immigration process – is part of a broader assault on programs that consistently deliver a healthier, more secure country. It is no wonder so many communities fear this Administration, when it has, without regard for the lifelong consequences, leveraged federal assistance to shut immigrants and their families out from the American dream.
“To the communities affected by this final rule, let me be clear: WIC’s clinic doors remain open. The final rule does not impose barriers on families for accessing WIC, or women from accessing Medicaid when they are pregnant or for 60 days after delivery. The final rule does not penalize families if their U.S.-citizen child is accessing benefits. We stand at your side, forever committed to our mission of delivering quality nutrition services and breastfeeding support for all families.
“The public charge rule will nevertheless punish families for accessing Medicaid, SNAP, or housing assistance. These are programs that save lives. These are programs that lift families out of poverty. These are essential tools in the national project to hold life in America as a global ideal – a shining city upon a hill.
“As frontline service providers, we cannot turn a blind eye to the ramifications of this policy change. Without access to these life-sustaining programs, families and their communities are scrambling to identify how folks will put food on the table and pay for doctor’s visits. Even programs that are not swept into the definition of public charge – like WIC – will face a significant chilling effect, as families fear to access any government program. Before the final rule was issued, WIC clinics saw children losing access to their healthcare services, mothers returning their breast pumps out of fear, and families turning away nutrition assistance. This fear is real, and families are forced to make devastating choices because of this Administration’s deliberate attack on immigrant families.
“While WIC is not included in the final rule, it should never have to be clarified. A family’s access to adequate nutrition should never be at question in the United States. It is a dark day for America, when our government chooses to condemn millions of families to an unhealthier, hungrier life.”
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