County Council Condemns New Trump Regulation Against Immigrants

Councilmember Gabe Albornoz tears up while speaking against the new public charge test.

As President Trump’s public charge regulation goes into effect, the Montgomery County Council voted to condemn the new regulation and urge immigrant families to access local services. 

The new regulation, called the public charge rule, would prevent immigrant families who have used public assistance programs from receiving permanent residency status. This regulation went into effect on Feb. 24.

“It is a devastating ruling that forces a number of families from here in Montgomery County and across the country of making the impossible decision of having to choose between accessing services that they and their families so critically need or deciding whether or not to access those services so they are more likely to secure permanent residency and citizenship,” Councilmember Gabe Albornoz said at a council meeting last night. 

On Feb. 4, lead sponsors Albornoz and Councilmember Nancy Navarro introduced a resolution to condemn the Supreme Court decision to uphold the regulation and ask Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration reform legislation which would overturn the new rules. At last night’s council meeting, members voted unanimously to adopt the resolution and condemned the Supreme Court decision.  

The public charge test evaluates whether immigrants applying for permanent residence are likely to use government services in the future. The Department of Homeland Security evaluates that risk by reviewing if immigrant families have used certain public assistance programs.

Families who have used Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs like SNAP or “EBT”, or who have used Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance may be denied permanent residency. Use of Medicaid – except for emergency services, for children under 21 years, pregnant women, and new mothers – and use of cash assistance programs like SSI and TANF can also disqualify families for permanent residency. 

Immigrants who currently have TPS, U or T Visas, Asylum or Refugee statuses are not impacted by the public charge rule, but all other families have been advised to use caution before seeking public assistance. 

The resolution says that Montgomery County Public Schools have received reports that families are not applying for benefits for their US-born children, even though US citizens and local programs are exempt from the public charge rule. 

The confusion is wide-spread and harming our community, Navarro said. Confusion over which programs qualify for public assistance has led some families to have their children avoid accessing programs which they are eligible for. 

“We have heard that parents don’t want to access things like free and reduced lunches and childcare subsidies just out of fear,” she said. 

Albornoz echoed her sentiments, arguing that children are going hungry at school over fear of losing a chance to secure permanent residency because of the public charge rule.

Further, the Montgomery County  Health and Human Services Department has seen declines in immigrants attempting to access benefits for which they are eligible.

Albornoz emphasized that services offered by the county, such as health programs offered by the Department of Health and Human Services are not a part of the public charge rule and are open to all members of the community, regardless of immigration of residency status. 

Albornoz has encouraged families seeking more information to visit for more information.

You can watch Albornoz and Navarro’s statements below.

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Albornoz Emotionally Denounces Supreme Court Immigration Decision

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About Grace Mottley

Grace Mottley is an intern for Montgomery County Media. She studies at the University of Maryland, where she is majoring in multi-platform journalism.


One Response to “County Council Condemns New Trump Regulation Against Immigrants”

  1. Avatar
    On February 28, 2020 at 4:55 pm responded with... #

    I am an immigrant too….but I like the underlying concept of this new policy.

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