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Attorney General Phil Weiser Files Friend of the Court Brief in Federal Lawsuit against Trump Administration Changes to Public Charge Policy

March 22, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.) — Attorney General Phil Weiser today joined 17 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a friend of the court brief supporting the City Council of Baltimore’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s changes to the public charge rule.  This rule threatens to reduce legal, family-based immigration by radically redefining the criteria for admissibility to the United States and adjustment to lawful permanent resident status and would have the effect of making our communities less safe and healthy.

In October, the State Department made abrupt changes that would penalize—and possibly remove—immigrants and their families for having benefited from public services such as subsidized school lunches or free vaccinations. These changes have caused widespread fear and uncertainty among immigrants, leaving some children without access to public benefit programs such as the free and reduced cost school lunch program.

“Changes to the public charge rule threaten to inflict pain on communities across Colorado. The changes undermine our responsibility as a state to ensure the safety and well-being of our people through the public health system of Colorado,” said Attorney General Weiser. “Under the Constitution and basic fairness, we cannot deny access to education for immigrants; by removing access to free and reduced school lunches, free vaccinations, and other services, we are abandoning our commitment to the fair and legal treatment of immigrants.”

Increasing access to public healthcare decreases transmission of diseases, allows people to work, and reduces uncompensated hospital costs for the state. By undermining such programs, our state will suffer. The Colorado Fiscal Institute, for example, estimates that if 15% of immigrant families dis-enroll from public benefit programs, Colorado’s economy stands to lose nearly $179 million and up to 1,217 jobs.

Colorado joins California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia in the filing.

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CONTACT
Faith Whang, Marketing & Communications Specialist
(720) 508-6541 office
Email: Faith.whang@coag.gov