Washington, DC – The Arc denounces the harmful rule that will be finalized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday, August 14. This new rule discriminates against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, among others.  It allows the federal government to deny admission into the U.S. and unfairly restructures immigration in a way that is detrimental to individuals based on their disability and the use of vital programs like Medicaid.

The DHS final rule means the government will consider a significantly expanded list of factors to determine whether a person will be considered a “public charge.” A public charge is a person that the government thinks will (currently or in the future) be dependent on the government for support. The rule will hurt children and adults based on disabilities and chronic conditions. The use of many programs such as most Medicaid services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, and other important benefits will also be considered in the public charge test.  DHS acknowledges that the new rule may have an outsized impact on people with disabilities.

“This new policy is devastating to many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It discourages immigrant families from utilizing critical public services out of fear of harming their immigration status. The rule will increase poverty, hurt public health, and worsen housing instability. It’s the latest callous tactic in restricting access to necessary services and supports. The Arc continues our work to ensure that non-citizens with any type of disability have a fair opportunity to enter and reside legally in the U.S., without unnecessary or discriminatory restrictions based on their disability,”  said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.

The Arc opposed the rule and submitted comments with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities when the rule was proposed in 2018.

For more information, see this short explainer.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

The post The Arc Responds to Cruel DHS Public Charge Rule That Hurts People with Disabilities and Their Families appeared first on The Arc.

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