Immigrant families avoid public benefits for fear of being denied residency

New research from the Urban Institute finds that in 2019, more eligible immigrant families were avoiding public benefits due to fears about immigration consequences. The new public charge rule broadens the basis for which an applicant for permanent residency could be denied based on the use of public benefit programs. Although this rule officially took effect in February 2020, this study finds that even as of December 2019, confusion around the proposed rule led 15.6 percent of immigrant families to avoid government programs (such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or housing subsidies). Among low-income adults in immigrant families, 26.2 percent reported avoiding government programs. Foregoing important benefits is especially troublesome in the COVID-19 context, as low-income immigrant families, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, may also be left without safety net programs. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

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