News Articles

Mayor DeBlasio Stands with Catholic Charities on Public Charge Education

By Jim Sliney Jr

The “Public Charge” rule change is like a New York street hot dog – it keeps coming up. As the entire country waits to see if the administration’s change will take place, Catholic Charities of New York and the coalition who have stood by New York’s immigrants (Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs, Univision 41, NYLag, the Legal Aid Society, Hispanic Federation, and the New York State Office for New Americans) held another phonebank to answer questions about the Public Charge rule. But this time, Mayor DeBlasio showed up.

Mayor DeBlasio, the volunteers at the phone bank, and lots of other people had much to celebrate. Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on Friday October 11th blocking the change to the public charge.

The Washington Examiner reported that in the injunction Judge Daniels said, the suing organizations and states “will suffer irreparable harm if the Rule becomes effective.” The order was a combined response to a suit from Make the Road New York, the African Services Committee, the Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, as well as another suit by New York state, New York City, Connecticut, and Vermont.

This injunction was very good news to immigrant advocacy organizations like Catholic Charities of New York who stand by the belief that the proposed change to the rule would discourage immigrants from seeking and utilizing government assistance, such as food assistance and medical care. As per the New York Times, the standards for public assistance were “never intended to exclude working-class immigrants from developing countries,” according to Charles Wheeler, a director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. “This ruling confirms that the American dream remains open to them.”

The phonebank was operated by attorneys from Catholic Charities New York’s Office of Immigration and Refugee Services. They answered questions and provided free legal assistance about the Public Charge rule change. The Mayor, when he visited, told the staff at the phone bank, “When you speak to someone, you’re not only helping that person and their family but the word is going to spread throughout the community based on what you say. You’re the truth tellers. You’re setting the record straight. I hope you feel the power and importance of what you are doing.”