Our position on the Supreme Court decision
on the use of public assistance
by immigrants


On January 27, 2020,  the Supreme Court upheld a major executive order handed down by President Trump in August 2019, by a 5-4 decision.  This order makes people who have EVER used public assistance ineligible to get green cards (permanent residency).  This includes Medicaid, the only medical insurance within reach for those who work full-time at low-wage jobs and do not receive benefits from work…or those who work two (and more commonly three) less-than full-time jobs to make ends meet, or entrepreneurs who are self-employed. 

Refugees are exempt from this rule….for now.

 

You have no doubt heard this famous poem: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out---because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out---because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

These words originated with Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany.  Niemöller emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. 

 

At RAP, we work with refugees and not asylum-seekers or asylees…for now.  Although RAP helps refugees, who are exempt from this tyrannical policy, we are deeply concerned for the Supreme Court precedence allowing sweeping executive influence over immigration law.  This opens a wide playing field, putting all immigrants—legal and illegal---at extreme risk.

 

Trump is dead-set on filling the gaps in immigration law with policies that are like black tar---policies that seep through and around the loopholes, sticky and noxious, suffocating any breathing room for humane immigration. We must put a stop to this momentum!

Here's what you can do:

 

  • Call your Congressperson….THEN CALL AGAIN: the tighter immigration laws pass, the less room executive policy has to choke out humane immigration law.
     

  • Give to lobbying groups with strong legal muscle (ACLU).
     

  • Give to or volunteer with nonprofits supporting immigrants, especially with green card applications or legal services (RAP, Catholic Charities, First Friends): they work tirelessly to advocate where our government does not.
     

  • Give to local food pantries (El Centro, Jewish Family Services, St. Joseph’s Social Services): immigrants of all types are SCARED; they will not use food stamps and are more likely to rely on nonprofits for support, or just go hungry.

  • Give to programs helping mitigate homelessness (Family Promise, Elizabeth Coalition for the Prevention of Homelessness): immigrants will refuse county-based rental assistance and other needed programs.  64% of all people experiencing homelessness (including Americans) are children.

 

We all must fight this fight.  Otherwise, the proponents of these smothering policies will distract and divide us and will win—sooner rather than later.  Congress has the power to change this movement.  And nonprofits WITH OUR HELP have the power to sustain immigrants through this storm until laws are passed to protect all immigrants.

 

Thank you for your support,

 

Jill Segulin, President