Since early 2017, English-language news outlets in the US have published numerous stories about a series of leaked draft regulations that would limit immigration to the US in profound ways, based on prospective immigrants’ supposed “likelihood of requiring public assistance.” The rules sought to potentially deport legal immigrants for using social services and to incorporate previously excluded benefits, such as health-insurance subsidies and the earned-income tax credit, into the government’s determinations of which prospective immigrants are likely to become a “public charge.” The proposed regulation, Politico reported in September “would effectively gentrify the legal immigration system, blocking poorer immigrants from obtaining green cards or even from entering the country in the first place.”
One draft of the regulation leaked in early 2018 proposed expanding the limitations specifically to people who use food aid, including nutrition assistance from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). A generally uncontroversial program that serves approximately 50 percent of all infants in the US, WIC provides formula, diapers, and breastfeeding tutorials, among other benefits, to low-income adult caregivers.
In late September, the Department of Homeland Security finally released an official version of the proposed rule, which was covered widely in US media, excluding WIC from public-charge determinations. And even before that, reporting from major English-language US outlets made clear, use of benefits would not affect immigration decisions. But many immigrants don’t get their news from major English-language outlets. Instead, officials from WIC tell CJR in a phone call, they turn to
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/covering_the_health_care_fight/wic-immigrants.php