public-policy newsletter

The Latest on Immigration Policy

April 26, 2018
NHSA supports a practical approach to immigration policy that will help everyone reach their full potential so that we can all contribute to our communities in meaningful ways. We recently released talking points to help the human service sector convey how immigration helps our economy grow with shared prosperity. While the urgency by lawmakers to establish permanent protections for Dreamers has recently waned, there are still several developments at the federal level worth nothing.


On Tuesday evening, a federal district court judge ruled that the Administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program was unlawful. The ruling also held that the Department of Homeland Security must process new applications in addition to renewals of those currently in the DACA program. The judge’s decision, however, was stayed for 90 days to give the department the opportunity to convince the court that it has a reasonable basis for ending the program.


On the legislative side, the House is considering a resolution that would lead to a vote among four competing immigration bills, including a clean Dream Act of 2017. Under this procedure known as Queen of the Hill, the four bills would be debated and voted on, and the bill with the most votes would be adopted as long as it wins a majority of the House. Among the bills, the Dream Act and the USA Act would make the DACA program permanent, but the USA Act would include unnecessary “border security” measures. The third bill, Securing America’s Future Act, would provide only temporary legal status for Dreamers and would significantly reduce legal immigration. The fourth bill would be determined by Speaker Ryan (R-WI). The resolution currently has 249 sponsors.


NHSA is also following the impending release of a notice of proposed rulemaking from the Department of Homeland Security to change the rules for immigrants who use certain public benefits. Under the current rules, an individual who is “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence” is determined a public charge. This happens during the application process for a change in immigration status. Once an individual becomes a public charge, admission to the United States or adjustment of status is not granted. For now, receipt of only two public benefit currently count toward that determination—cash assistance, and long-term care at the government’s expense. Conversely, the forthcoming proposed rule would greatly expand the types of benefits that can be considered by the government in a public charge determination and would extend to public benefits received by dependents of immigrant applicant, even if those dependents are U.S. citizen children.


Take Action


Use the NHSA talking points and call or email your Representative and encourage them to publicly support the Dream Act of 2017 and join the Dear Colleague letter from Congressman Espaillat (D-NY) in opposition to the impending public charge rulemaking.