Green Card Policy ‘Perversion’ Could Harm 475,000 New Yorkers

By David Brand

Donald Trump’s latest anti-immigrant policy proposal could get hit close to home for New Yorkers.

The “public charge” proposal, which would prevent immigrants enrolled in social safety net programs from obtaining permanent residence, could harm up to 475,000 immigrants in New York City, according to a preliminary analysis by the city.

 U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who represents parts of Queens, condemned the Trump administration's green card policy proposal. Eagle photo by Mary Frost.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who represents parts of Queens, condemned the Trump administration's green card policy proposal. Eagle photo by Mary Frost.

“This proposal is another perversion of our most basic values,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It is un-American to punish families for seeking help, plain and simple. As a parent myself, I could never imagine the gut wrenching decision of choosing between food on the table and the possibility of not being able to get a green card in the future.”

De Blasio, in a statement, vowed to fight the proposal “tooth and nail.”

The analysis was conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Social Service and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. In addition to directly affecting roughly 475,000 immigrants, the policy would harm hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers — including the children of immigrants — who share a household or other connection with immigrants receiving government benefits and entitlements.

The policy would also have at least a $420 million impact to the city’s annual economy, the analysis reported.

“We will fight back against any attempt to threaten the well-being of hundreds of thousands of middle and working class immigrant families, including their U.S. citizen children,” said Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Immigrant New Yorkers are the backbone of our economy and the Trump Administration’s latest proposal would undercut our progress to make NYC the fairest big city in the country.”

“This heartless proposal targets some of our most vulnerable neighbors, including the children of immigrants, by forcing them to choose between a path to citizenship and benefits they should receive,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, who represents parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. “Equally alarming, the Trump plan would have a chilling effect and many New Yorkers would forego benefits they are eligible to receive. This is wrong and it must be stopped.”