A Message from AAP President Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP
Yesterday, the Administration issued a regulation that will further exacerbate the fear and uncertainty of immigrant families by threatening separation if they access certain vital services like health care and housing assistance.
The long-anticipated “public charge” rule expands the definition of what it means to be a public charge, making it harder for immigrants to enter the United States and advance through the immigration process. Under the new definition, the use of programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing assistance will be considered.
This forces immigrant families into an impossible choice: keep your family healthy but risk being separated, or forgo vital services so your family can remain together in this country. Of course we know that this is really not a choice at all.
When this rule was first proposed, AAP members weighed in by the hundreds, submitting comments that cut through the complexities and outlined exactly what it meant for your patients. You shared stories of families who avoided or disenrolled from critical health services out of fear. You explained what it means when a child misses out on the benefits of a program like SNAP. You kept the focus on child health.
That is what we must now continue to do. The Academy issued its own press statement in opposition and led a statement with 22 other children’s health and advocacy organizations as well as a statement with several leading physician groups. We spoke out in the media and also shared out key messages on social media.
Though the rule is final, we will pursue every possible approach to delay, rescind and otherwise stop the rule from taking effect. We are exploring ways to best educate pediatricians about how to talk to families in a clinical setting about the new rule – who it impacts and who it does not, and what it means for families’ ability to access the programs they need.
We will keep in touch every step of the way. In the meantime, take a look at this list of AAP resources to learn more about how you can connect to local immigrant advocates and help immigrant children in your community.
Thank you for all you do for children.
Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP