The Trump Administration published a proposed rule that would fundamentally alter immigrants’ ability to seek permanent residence or secure a green card or visa to remain in the United States. If the rule is finalized and put into effect, it would fundamentally change our country’s approach to immigration by giving greater focus to family income and the potential use of health care, nutrition, and housing programs in decisions about whether people will be allowed to make their lives in America.

The rule will limit the ability for immigrants in North Carolina to fully participate in their community, thereby weakening our state now and for the future.

The proposed rule will have its largest impact through the chilling effect that will likely reduce a family’s enrollment in essential nutrition assistance, health care, and housing supports for which they are eligible in order to avoid a public charge determination. Nationwide, the Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that 24 million people will be affected by this chilling effect.

In North Carolina, the chilling effect could reach 530,000 people who live in a family with non-citizen members and receive one of the income supports identified. While not all would be subject to a public charge determination, it is likely that some portion will be concerned about participation in these programs and would disenroll. These harmful realities will have significant negative effects on the health and well-being of immigrants, and create another barrier for future generations of children to reach their full potential.

This BTC Brief provides an overview of the proposed change to the public charge rule, evidence of the harm to well-being, and estimates of the reach of the chilling effect in our state.