AIDS United Statement Opposing Final Public Charge Rule

CONTACT: Sarah Hashmall | 202-876-2823

Washington, D.C. — AIDS United is strongly opposed to the final Public Charge rule released by the Trump Administration today that greatly increases roadblocks to an immigrant’s chances of obtaining US citizenship. The new rule expands the types of public programs that, if used, could harm an individual’s ability to achieve citizenship. The rule also allows US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deem an immigrant “inadmissible on a health-related ground” for a variety of illnesses that often impact people living with and affected by HIV.

This Public Charge rule has the potential to become a de facto ban on all immigrants living with HIV and other chronic health conditions from becoming US citizens. Equally disturbing, the rule discourages immigrants from accessing public services such as Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 housing. Previously, public charge determinations that could prevent an immigrant from obtaining citizenship were limited to the receipt of actual cash benefits from the federal government or utilization of government-supported long-term institutional care.

This rule is the latest in a series of attacks on immigrants in the United States and poses a direct threat to the health of millions of immigrants – especially those in marginalized communities including LGBTQ people, people living with HIV, people of color, women, and youth. Even before the rule was finalized, we have seen a disturbing “chilling effect” among U.S. immigrants, with one study showing that 1 in 7 adults in immigrant families have dropped out of public welfare programs in 2018 out of fear of deportation.

AIDS United stands with our allies in opposition to this rule and urges the administration to reverse course. If we are to end the domestic HIV epidemic by 2030, our government must eliminate barriers to care for every person in America living with and affected by HIV.”

Correction: A previous version of this statement incorrectly stated that the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program would be included as a public benefit that could negatively impact an immigrant’s chances of obtaining citizenship.

AIDS United’s mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building, and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy.