Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and local immigration advocates are crticizing a Trump administration proposal to further limit immigration to the United States.
The “public charge” policy is aimed at preventing immigration by people who might become dependent on the government as their sole source of income.
But the Trump proposal would redefine that to include those who receive non-cash benefits such as food or medical assistance.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Peduto said the proposal attacks lower and middle class immigrants and is based in prejudice.
“We are rolling the clock back 100 years on immigration law in even considering these types of laws,” Peduto said. “It doesn’t only affect legal immigrants that are in this country right now, it affects the ability for people to be able to apply for immigration status.”
Researchers say the proposal is already having a chilling effect on people applying for benefits.
“Not only is that going to hurt families, it’s going to hurt our communities when children don’t have medical assistance, they don’t have preventative care, they’re not getting their vaccination and they’re not able to attend school,” said Monica Ruiz, executive director of Casa San Jose, a community resource for Latino immigrants in Pittsburgh.
The Trump administration said the proposed change would promote self-sufficiency and protect taxpayers. A public comment period lasts until Dec. 10.