WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Richard Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-04), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), William Keating (MA-09), and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Secretary to withdraw his department’s Public Charge Inadmissibility Interim Rule. The Department of State’s (DOS) rule would prevent immigrants from receiving vital healthcare, nutritional assistance, and housing programs for which they are qualified. 


In the letter, the lawmakers highlight DOS’s disregard for the multiple injunctions issued by federal courts that effectively block the rule from taking effect:


“DOS’s decision to adopt the [Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] definition of ‘public charge’ is troubling and legally premature,” the lawmakers wrote. “Five federal district courts issued temporary injunctions blocking DHS’s public charge rule from taking effect, finding that that the petitioners were likely to succeed in their argument that the rule is inconsistent with federal law. This is especially troubling because the DOS rule explicitly incorporates and cites provisions of the invalidated DHS rule – including those that would have protected vulnerable groups such as domestic violence victims – and without which the rest of the DOS rule would be difficult to implement.”


Congresswoman Pressley has been a staunch advocate for immigrants and an outspoken opponent of the Trump Administration’s xenophobic policies. Last month, she led a bicameral effort to reinstate medical deferred action for critically ill immigrants receiving lifesaving care in the United States. This summer, she visited US Customs and Border Patrol facilities at the southern border and testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on the human rights abuses she witnessed. In May, she joined colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee to demand the withdrawal of a proposal by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to terminate housing benefits for mixed-immigration status families who rely on HUD’s public and assisted housing programs.


The full text of the letter can be found here and below.