Trump Administration “Public Charge” proposal could have disastrous consequences for mothers and babies in the U.S.

1,000 Days calls on the Trump Administration to shelve its proposed public charge rule – a proposal that will cause millions of immigrant women and children to forgo the critical medical, nutrition and housing programs they need to keep their families healthy and safe.

Read 1,000 Days’ Public Comment in opposition to the proposed rule sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

“Public charge” is a test used during the citizenship process and this proposed rule expands that test such that the U.S. Government can consider whether a family has used or is likely to use public programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.

The effects of this rule will be especially disastrous for pregnant women, babies and toddlers. Without the critical nutrition, health care and safe housing support that these programs provide, expectant mothers and young children will be put at risk for malnutrition and serious health problems. In fact, the proposed rule itself notes that “disenrollment or foregoing enrollment in public benefits program by [people] otherwise eligible for these programs could lead to: Worse health outcomes, including increased prevalence of obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children…”

The damage done by malnutrition and other preventable health conditions during pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life can be irreversible. Children who are malnourished early in life are at greater risk of failure to thrive. They are more likely to have developmental delays, perform poorly at school and struggle to lead healthy lives. And when children fail to reach their full potential, we all feel the consequences.

It is why basic nutrition and health services for women and young children—regardless of immigration status—must be protected. 1,000 Days is deeply concerned that this Trump Administration proposal will also add to the climate of fear and intimidation that is already causing immigrant families to drop out of critical nutrition and health programs they are legally authorized to use.

1,000 Days urges individuals across America to speak out against this latest Trump Administration attack on immigrant families and we will join forces with partners to mobilize public comments opposing this rule.