Below is public comment from Councilwoman Debi Rose on proposed new "public charge" rules from Washington.
I am a second generation Staten Islander, a lifelong resident of the borough’s diverse North Shore, which I am proud to represent in the New York City Council since 2010. Each immigrant group, whether they are newly arrived or here for generations, brings something unique to our neighborhoods. To me, this has always been something to celebrate.
It pains me to read the headlines day in and day out and see the anti immigrant sentiment that has creeped into our discourse. I would like to say that this is not who we are, that we are a welcoming nation. But I am also a student of American history, and I know that people from other countries have not always been welcomed here or treated well.
Thankfully, the City of New York continues to welcome all people. We know that immigrants are here to seek the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and for their children. We know that immigrants make great contributions to our economy and to our culture.
Unfortunately, these proposed new public charge rules from Washington send a different message. My colleagues and I are speaking out against these proposals, calling them hypocritical and short-sighted. These rules will force families to decide whether to access benefits for which they are lawfully eligible and face adverse immigration consequences. If families lose access to SNAP, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D, we will invariably see rises in homelessness, taxed food pantries, and higher rates of reliance on Emergency Rooms and failure to treat chronic illnesses.
These new rules would harm immigrants and non-immigrants alike, and are contrary to the values we New Yorkers hold dear. I strongly urge this administration to reject them.