"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes the final rule issued today to expand the definition of what it means to be a 'public charge,' making it harder for immigrants to enter the United States and advance through the immigration process. Make no mistake: this rule is a threat to the health of immigrant children and families.
"The rule considers the use of public programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and housing assistance in this definition, forcing immigrant families into an impossible choice: keep your family healthy but risk being separated, or forgo vital services so your family can remain together in this country. This is really not a choice at all.
"Of course, this rule comes at a time of relentless hardship for immigrant families in the United States as a result of policies put forth by this Administration that harm their health and safety. The public charge rule further intimidates these families and expands on the
chilling effects pediatricians have seen across the country ever since the proposed rule was issued, with families disenrolling from or avoiding critical health programs and services they are eligible for.
"We urge the Administration to reverse this public charge final rule, which will not only carry serious consequences for the children and families impacted, but also our country; we must support the health of all children if we are to reach our full potential as a nation."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds