Once again, we’re sharing the entire text of the recent letter from Worcester County Food Bank’s Director of Advocacy, Liz Sheehan Castro. Please take the time to learn about the proposed changes to the definition of “public charge” and what it could mean for immigrant families, including many of our friends and neighbors here in Worcester County. Then commit to taking action by attending our Worcester Public Charge Gathering or one of the upcoming Comment Parties listed below.


Take Action Today!
Dear Friends,
No family should have to choose between food and their future in this country. But that is exactly what will happen if a new federal rule goes into effect.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed “public charge” rule would fuel rates of hunger and food insecurity among immigrant families, including families with U.S. citizen children.
This proposed rule could change how the DHS treats certain low-income immigrants and could push immigrant families off public benefits they legally qualify for.
Worse yet, the new rule will create fear and confusion that may dissuade immigrant communities – regardless of whether they are impacted by the rule – from seeking needed food in the first place. We are already hearing stories here in Worcester County of mothers who are cancelling their SNAP or WIC benefits they legally qualify for or are unenrolling their children from school lunch programs, all out of fear of impacting their immigration status.
More Details…
“Public charge” assessment is a way our federal government decides who will be denied a US visa or green card, by identifying individuals they think are likely to become primarily dependent on government assistance. This proposed rule would greatly expand the definition of “public charge” to include benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, and housing assistance.
This rule change would discourage immigrant parents working hard for better lives for their families from using services that millions of people in the United States use to support their basic needs and move out of hardship. It stands against the work of ending hunger and poverty, building healthy communities, and upholding human rights.

What Can You Do?


This rule has NOT gone into effect, and there is still time to oppose it. It is a detailed and very nuanced proposal and we encourage you to learn more about it, who will and will NOT be affected (certain categories of immigrants such as asylees, refugees, and several other status’s are exempt). Consult this FAQ for more information.
Ways YOU Can Take Action (details below):
1. Submit a Public Comment
2. Attend a Public Gathering in Worcester to Say NO to this Rule Change
3. Attend a Comment Party in Worcester or Leominster to submit your comment with support from us and our partners.
4. Learn more and spread the word on why this proposed rule is harmful for all of us
1.CommentSubmit a Public Comment:

The public has 60 days to submit comments opposing the rule change. The government is legally required to review each unique comment. This means that your voice really matters now as much as ever.

Submit comments HERE, and ask all your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. Not sure what to say? If you have personal stories about the impact of this rule change, these are particularly powerful. You might also mention that it:
  • Makes people afraid to use benefits they have a legal right to.
  • Would create more hunger and hardship for families working to build better lives.
  • Undermines basic U.S. values of family, opportunity and hard work.
2. GatheringAttend a Public Gathering in Worcester
Join us Monday, October 29th in front of Worcester City Hall at 5:15 PM. We will gather with community members and elected officials to say NO to this proposed rule. Organizations will also be on hand to offer resources and information.
3. PartyAttend a Comment Party
Food Bank and Legal Aid staff will be on hand to support people in writing and submitting comments.
Worcester: Tuesday, Oct. 30th 5 pm – 7 pm, Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, 90 Holden Street.
Leominster: Thursday, Nov. 8th, 5 pm – 7 pm, Catholic Charities, 196 Mechanic Street.
4. LearnLearn More
Organizations across the country are working hard to oppose this rule and have a wealth of resources. First and foremost, we must not spread fear, but rather information and resources. The organization Protecting Immigrant Families has put together an extensive resource list here. Please utilize and share it.
Thank you so much for YOUR commitment to ending hunger in Worcester County!
Liz Sheehan Castro
Director of Advocacy
Worcester County Food Bank

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