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CIS of Chicago Statement on Changes to ‘Public Charge’ Rule: TAKE ACTION TODAY

Communities In Schools of Chicago is proud to stand with our colleagues at CIS National to share our views opposing the proposed rule change that would have a detrimental impact immigrant families and children. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proposed a public charge rule change that is already causing great distress among many immigrant children and families who need to use public benefit services such as Medicaid and food stamps.

Below is CIS of Chicago CEO Jane Mentzinger’s statement. If you want to offer a comment, follow this link and click “take action.” All comments must be submitted by Monday, Dec. 10.

On behalf of Communities In Schools of Chicago, I write to express our opposition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed public charge rule change. For over 30 years, our organization has delivered high quality services to Chicago Public School students focused on the social and emotional well-being of children — reducing barriers, including physical and mental health, that negatively affect student success to graduate high school ready for college or a career.

Presently, the proposed public charge rule change has created great fear, discomfort, and distrust among so many of the diverse constituents that we serve in over 150 Chicago Public Schools. Most of our schools are majority minority; many of our schools have sizable immigrant populations; and, the majority of the students we serve live in areas where substantial poverty exists. Many of our students already face so many challenges. This policy will only worsen an already tough situation for many children and parents in our area. We’re aware that the current proposed rule change has led many parents to not enroll their children in vital programs like Medicaid that would ensure they have the healthcare they need to survive in life and thrive in the schools we serve.

We’re joined by a chorus of other voices in our area, including the Chicago Community Trust, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and the Aids Foundation of Chicago, who’ve publicly opposed this change and expressed similar concerns about ensuring that children get the services they need. Recently, an article published in the Chicago Tribune, entitled, “Illinois Doctors say Trump immigration proposal already scaring away patients,” noted that “as many as 1.7 million people in Illinois…might drop out of public benefit programs or not apply for them because of the proposed rule and fear surrounding it.” In our county, the Chicago Community Trust has stated that “13% of Cook County’s population, or $658,000 people, are expected to be affected by this rule change.”

We don’t take this matter lightly. We stand with our national organization, Communities In Schools, to oppose this rule change. We urge the administration to jettison this initiative in the name of humanity, compassion, and care for children’s well-being, which is central to our organization’s mission and work.

Jane Mentzinger