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我若不信在活人之地得见耶和华的恩惠,就早已丧胆了。要等候耶和华!当壮胆,坚固你的心!我再说,要等候耶和华!

诗篇27:13,14



 
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FEAR OF PUBLIC CHARGE RULE KEEPS IMMIGRANTS FROM SEEKING HEALTH CARE DURING PANDEMIC

by Sunita Sohrabji | Jun 30, 2020 | COVID-19
6/30/2020



Clockwise from top left: Connie Choi, Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign Field Manager and Strategist at the National Immigration Law Center; Luvia Quiñones, Health Policy Director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Madison Allen, senior policy analyst and attorney at CLASP; and Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.

By SUNITA SOHRABJI/EMS Contributing Editor

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump Administration’s re-implementation of the public charge rule has kept immigrants from accessing health care and other needed services during the COVID pandemic.

Avoiding health care has profound ramifications for attempts to flatten the pandemic’s curve, said experts at a June 26 briefing organized by Ethnic Media Services.

The public charge rule, on the books for decades, has seldom been implemented. But six months into his term, President Trump announced he would begin enforcing it, thus denying a green card to any U.S. resident who has received one or more forms of federal public benefits.

The rule also allows consulates abroad to determine whether prospective immigrants to the U.S. eventually would become public charges. Immigrants seeking to settle in this country must prove they could earn at least $41,000 a year, eliminating many elderly people and separating families.

Several states sued to block the rule from being re-implemented, but the Trump administration prevailed. It rolled out the enforcement February 24, just as the COVID pandemic began taking its toll in the United States.

Even before the rule was formally re-implemented, many immigrant families had stopped using public benefits — including programs like school lunches, which do not fall under the criteria of public charge — fearing they might be denied permanent U.S. status. Many U.S.-born children with immigrant parents failed to receive the benefits to which they were entitled.

Approximately one in three low-income immigrant families with children now are going without public benefits like health coverage and food stamps, said Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras, assistant professor of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.

In one study, 80% of adults surveyed didn’t know that their children could enroll in Medicaid without affecting their parents’ legal status, Turner-Lloveras said. “Avoidance of these programs is particularly worrisome in families with children because the entire family faces the financial hardships, the psychological distress, and problems in accessing health care.”

Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan has dropped 31% in the last two years.

“If it only affects one person, it then trickles down and eventually affects the entire family,” said Turner-Lloveras, noting that if certain populations are denied access to health care, COVID will continue to spread, leaving the United States unable to flatten the curve of the pandemic. “We are only as strong as our weakest link.”

Madison Allen, senior policy analyst and attorney at the Center for Law and Social Policy, which advocates for policy supporting low-income people, said immigrants are entitled to access a number of programs without affecting their immigration status. Federal legislation has funded community health centers and hospitals to cover COVID testing and treatment of uninsured people, regardless of their immigration status, she said.

“Testing treatment and preventative care related to COVID-19 will not be included in a public charge determination, even if the health care services are covered by Medicaid,” Allen emphasized. She added that health care workers should not ask for immigration status, and they may not share health information with immigration officials.

A new federal program, Pandemic EBT, currently available in 40 states, provides nutritional resources to low-income families during the COVID crisis. Children no longer receiving free school lunches because shelter-in-place orders closed their schools can qualify for the program. In California, families can get up to $365 per qualifying child, according to the California Department of Social Services. P-EBT benefits are not considered in a public charge test, Allen said.

Unemployment benefits, for those who qualify, also are not considered in a public charge determination, she said, noting that unemployment eligibility has been expanded to include contract workers during the pandemic. A valid social security number is required, however, so undocumented workers, including those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, cannot qualify.

Undocumented immigrants also were left out of a federal stimulus package that gives each U.S. resident a one-time, $1,200 check. Those in mixed-status families were left out of that program, too. But, in May, California Governor Newsom announced a one-time, $500 check for each undocumented worker in the state. Allen, praising the governor, expressed her hope that other states would follow his lead.

Student loans and student federal financial aid are not considered in a public charge determination, and Allen encouraged students to apply for funds to continue their college and university education.

Many immigrants do not know about their eligibility for some programs because of a dearth of language-specific resources, said Luvia Quiñones, health policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

She noted that many ethnic residents in Illinois have failed to get COVID testing because of the perceived cost.

“It wasn’t until much advocacy (text missing?) that we were able to get our governor, JB Pritzker, to publicly say that testing was free for everyone, regardless of insurance, and regardless of immigration status,” said Quiñones.

In the time of COVID, Latinos and — to a lesser extent — Asian Americans have been showing up at hospitals only when their symptoms are extremely severe because they fear public charge repercussions and costs, she said.

Connie Choi, Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign field manager and strategist at the National Immigration Law Center, said immigrants also are afraid to access hospital services because of the possible threat of deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. She noted that, while there is vague federal guidance, no concrete policies are in place.

“What we’ve been hearing specifically at border communities is that ICE enters some of these facilities, which chill immigrants from accessing their health care,” said Choi.

NILC is advocating for the “Sensitive Locations Act,” introduced in Congress last year. The bill blocks immigration enforcement actions at schools, hospitals and religious institutions without prior approval and exigent circumstances.

“Immigrants in their family members should not fear that they will be penalized or placed at risk for seeking health care and other needed services during the pandemic because of public charge,” Choi said. COVID testing must be provided free, she added, through emergency Medicaid coverage, which is not considered a factor in public charge determination.


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族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:平权行动:可以减少种族和民族不平等吗? 
 

HUNGER IN THE PANDEMIC: 14 MILLION CHILDREN IN THE U.S. DO NOT EAT THE FOODS THEY NEED 
 

14 MILLION U.S. CHILDREN WILL GO HUNGRY THIS WEEK 
 

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WITHOUT ART, THE STARK REALITIES OF COVID WOULD MAKE THE WORLD UNBEARABLE 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:艺术和文化需要生存的“新交易”吗? 
族裔媒体服务社(Ethnic Media Services)9月11日早上11点举行网上会议,会议的主题是艺术和文化需要生存的“新交易”吗?会议讨论在疫情的影响之下,许多艺术家及演艺人员,随著剧院及表演艺术中心因疫情而关闭,艺术作品及巡回演出的停止,造成了120亿美元的损失。大约近百分之94的艺术家及演艺人员面对收入的暴跌。会议除了与艺术家及文艺推广从业人员对话中了解疫情对他们的影响之外还会着重于如何拯救美国的艺术界由疫情中脱困。

11TH HOUR SAVE FOR CALIFORNIA RENTERS FACING EVICTION IS NOT PERMANENT SOLUTION: ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID CHIU 
 

14 MILLION U.S. CHILDREN WILL GO HUNGRY THIS WEEK 
 

加州人口普查领导人士:我们还有30天的机会改变社会 少数族裔媒体服务中心 
 

Governor Newsom Declares State of Emergency in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties Due to Fire 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:如何在我们的社区中提供安全与正义并防止右翼极端主义 
 

Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 9.3.20 
 

Governor Newsom Signs Emergency Proclamation to Free Up Additional Energy Capacity Amid Heat Wave 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:解决房客和房东驱离危机的立法最新信息 
 

BILL TO “SAVE LOCAL JOURNALISM” AWAITING GOV. NEWSOM’S SIGNATURE 
 

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