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Federal, State, City, and Community Leaders Across New York

Join Fight for New York’s Immigrant Families

NEW YORK – After New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit this morning against the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule — which aims to deny green cards and visas to immigrants that use or have used government assistance programs — elected and community leaders across the State of New York came out and expressed their support for the lawsuit.

“The Trump Administration has shown itself to be cold and ruthless towards our most vulnerable immigrant communities. These policies are moving our country away from the ideals of our forefathers who fought for a nation where all can find freedom and acceptance. On behalf of the people of the Bronx, I thank Attorney General Letitia James for her continuous leadership in the face of the scurrilous actions of the Trump Administration.” – Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Federal Leaders

“From day one, Donald Trump has weaponized federal agencies and resources to attack immigrants and make it harder for them to come here and seek a better life. By attempting to keep immigrants from accessing programs vital to supporting their families, the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule fails to uphold the values of our nation and will force individuals to choose between putting food on the table for their children and being granted legal status. This policy is unacceptable, heartless, and continues the Trump Administration’s sweeping government-wide assault on immigrant families. His message is loud and clear: If you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome here. This is not the America we know, and we will not let this stand. I thank Attorney General Letitia James for filing this lawsuit against the public charge rule, and I am committed to doing everything I can in Congress to prevent its implementation.” – Congressmember Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)

“The Trump Administration’s cruel, ruthless Public Charge Rule would hurt immigrant families and children here legally who work hard every day to make ends meet. New Yorkers stand up for our immigrant communities, and I’m proud to stand with Attorney General James in her fight to block this rule change and protect legal immigrants.” – Congressmember Grace Meng (NY-6)

State Leaders 

“At every turn, the Trump Administration has shown cruelty to immigrants and their families. From ICE raids, to the inhumane conditions in which migrants are being held at the border, and the new Public Charge Rule, the Trump Administration has denied the basic humanity of those seeking to build a better life for themselves in the United States. These policies harm our communities every day. To our immigrant neighbors, know that you are valued and loved in New York and across the country. To all of us who wish to be allies, we have a moral obligation to speak out against the actions of the Trump Administration. We, as New Yorkers, are fortunate to be represented by Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the nation by standing up to President Trump on behalf of immigrant communities.” – State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (SD-34)

“The Trump Administration’s final proposed changes to the Public Charge Rule are unacceptable. The changes were designed to create unnecessary hardship to immigrant communities and we know the most vulnerable in our communities will suffer the most. I applaud New York State Attorney General Letitia James for once again standing up to attacks directed towards immigrant New Yorkers. Immigrants have built this state, and certainly this nation, and should not be made to choose between healthcare, food, or paying their rent.” State Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (AD-72)

“This Administration and its Department of Homeland Security hold a fundamental belief that immigration is inherently bad for our country. Their racist beliefs are echoes of a legacy of hate that clings to life today, but immigrants will always persist — and they will thrive. East Harlem will protect our large immigrant community, and, as we have done so in the past, ICE will be rejected. I thank Attorney General Letitia James for her commitment to this issue.” – State Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez (AD-68)

“New York is the greatest city in the world because of immigrants, not in spite of them. The Administration’s proposed Public Charge Rule is a cruel continuation of its assault on immigrants. The United States does not means test immigrants seeking asylum on our shores, and we must not allow this Administration to dismantle our country’s founding principles. I stand with Attorney General Letitia James as she works to stop the implementation of this illegal rule.” – State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (AD-67)

New York City Leaders

“The Trump Administration has made it its mission to attack immigrants, and this new Public Charge Rule is just another example of the hateful and destructive policies emanating directly from the Oval Office. Despite the overwhelming public outcry, Trump is moving forward with this rule, regardless of the consequences. This rule goes against our city’s policies with regard to healthcare, housing, and nutrition. The Council remains committed to standing with our immigrant communities and will do everything within its authority to ensure that all New Yorkers receive the support they need to live in our vibrant city. I commend and fully support Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against the Trump Administration in trying to stop a rule that will disproportionately impact low-income communities, particularly communities of color, and force families to leave medical, food, and housing supports for fear of exacerbating immigration consequences.” – New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

“Trump’s Public Charge Rule cruelly presents immigrants with a false choice — to either give up lifesaving services for their children and families, or further delay their path to full citizenship. Our communities in Lower Manhattan are already feeling the chilling effects of this unconscionable proposal. But we refuse to let Trump continue making a mockery out of our values as Americans without a fight. I am thankful that New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James filed a suit challenging Trump’s pathetic attempts to defy the years of existing case law that disprove his claims that immigrants using benefits should be considered as ‘public charges.’ New York will always be a haven for immigrants, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with Attorney General James in this fight.” – Councilmember Margaret S. Chin (CD-1)

“I stand behind Attorney General James in her lawsuit to fight back against the Trump Administration’s draconian decision to enact the Public Charge Rule. This rule change could lead to hundreds of thousands of families in New York City going without the food and medical care they need. We need to use every tool available to us as public officials to step up in a dramatic fashion to protect the well-being of immigrant communities in New York that are under unprecedented threat from an Administration intent on doing them harm. This lawsuit is warranted and has my complete support.” – Councilmember Mark Levine (CD-7)

“The Public Charge Rule change impacts our public health and economies in significant ways, while also removing stepping stones many in our immigrant communities utilize as they build a new life in this country. I am proud to see our State Attorney General Letitia James, the City of New York, and other thoughtful, compassionate members of this legal coalition take the fight directly to the Trump Administration and stand squarely in defense of decency and the American Dream.” – Councilmember Carlina Rivera (CD-2)

“With this lawsuit, we will continue to fight this assault on the health and well-being of not just our immigrant communities, but all New Yorkers. The Public Charge Rule is designed to instill fear and to harm our city’s immigrants. We will work to empower residents to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, and not needlessly forgo benefits for which they are entitled. We thank Attorney General James for her leadership on this issue. New York City residents can call ActionNYC at 311 or 1-800-354-0365 and say ‘public charge’ to access free, city-funded, trusted legal advice.” – Commissioner Bitta Mostofi, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Community Leaders

“The Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule is not only unlawful and arbitrary, it is a naked discriminatory attack on the diversity that strengthens our country. The rule is designed to fundamentally change the face of immigration and to send the racially discriminatory message that if you’re not white and wealthy, you’re not welcome here. We commend Attorney General James for her leadership in standing with New York families, and families across the country against these dangerous, unlawful, and discriminatory attacks.” – Joanna E. Cuevas Ingram, Staff Attorney for the National Immigration Law Center

“As nurses, we strongly object to any impediment to Medicaid and other services essential to maintaining health. The proposed Public Charge Rule targets immigrants, many of whom suffer as a result of exploitive wages, only to be told that due to that very wage scheme they are not welcome here. A cruel irony — and a proposed law of the land.” – Judith Cutchin, RN, Board Member, NYS Nurses Association

“We thank Attorney General James for taking this important step to protect immigrant families. Trump’s Public Charge Rule violates the fundamental American values of fairness and opportunity for all. New York State’s lawsuit will demonstrate that it is also illegal.” – Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition

“The Public Charge rule is rooted in the same racist, divisive, xenophobic behavior that is being deliberately used to divide families, communities, and workplaces. As the union representing 450,000 caregivers, we understand firsthand the critical role that access to quality, affordable care plays in keeping our communities healthy and strong. We are committed to fighting to protect our immigrant friends, family members, and neighbors, and we applaud Attorney General James for standing up to send a clear message that racism and xenophobia have no place in New York.”– Keith Joseph, Vice President in 1199SEIU’s Home Care Division

“Trump’s cruel and unethical anti-immigration policies have contributed to a culture of fear among Latinx, Caribbean, and African New Yorkers, as well as other diverse immigrant communities. No one should be punished for simply feeding their families, putting a roof over their heads, or taking care of their health. Rest assured, Planned Parenthood of New York City health centers will always be a safe space for all patients, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Living in a secure and safe environment alongside your family is part of living a happy, healthy life. We thank Attorney General James for her commitment to this issue.” – Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City

“We are proud to stand with the New York Attorney General as we condemn this Administration’s attempt to demonize and punish our low-income, immigrant clients for accessing the public benefits they need to survive. As New York’s largest legal provider for indigent individuals, we know that many immigrant families are eligible for and use government benefits to supplement low-wage work as they move up the ladder of economic success. We will continue to defend our clients and all immigrant New Yorkers to help ensure that anyone eligible for government benefits can access them without jeopardizing their future in the U.S.” – Hasan Shafiqullah, Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society

“The new public charge regulation is part of the Trump’s administration xenophobic agenda to diminish legal migration by people of color and only allow the white and wealthy to become U.S. citizens. This regulation will create devastating damage to hundreds of thousands of immigrant families—punished for accessing vital health, nutrition, and housing programs. We will not stand for this. We support New York Attorney General Tish James in suing to stop this racist rule and protect our communities.”  Becca Telzak, Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York

“The public charge rule takes aim at the most vulnerable among us – poor immigrants, the elderly, and children – and makes a mockery of the values upon which this country was built. It is cruel to make parents choose between putting food on the table and giving up their legal rights as immigrants. It is cruel to close off pathways to legal residency for immigrants because they can only afford Medicaid. It is cruel to make legal immigrants choose between homelessness and a green card. The Asian American Federation stands with Attorney General Letitia James in her decision to stand up for our immigrant communities by pursuing legal action against this inhumane rule. We will do our part to fight this attack on our communities by equipping them with the information and services they need to make the right decisions for themselves and their families,”  Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation