We, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in strongly opposing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation. We view such changes as yet another attempt by the Trump administration to restrict immigration and punish immigrant families, to force parents to make impossible choices between the well-being of their families and the prospect of future citizenship.
The rule changes would dramatically increase the barriers to lawful status for low-income immigrants and their families. It could dissuade parents from obtaining benefits for which their children qualify out of fear that they may not be able to regularize their immigration status in the future. Lack of access to public-benefits programs will increase poverty, hunger, homelessness, and disease, as well as decrease children’s school attendance and general well-being.
This stark attempt to target the most vulnerable within the immigrant community violates the tenets of our faith and threatens the values of our nation. We are called by our faith to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable and we are challenged by our national values to promote the welfare of our children and tend to the common good. If we want our communities to thrive, all families in those communities must have access to the care and services they need — and to which they are entitled as human beings. The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation threaten all of us.
As Sisters of St. Joseph, committed by our heritage to embrace the Gospel message of unity and reconciliation, we urge people of faith to call for the protection of immigrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, and to register their objections to this unreasonable and mean-spirited proposal during the 60-day comment period.