Disability rights groups join challenge to ‘public charge’ rule

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A coalition of 17 disability advocacy and civil rights groups filed a brief in support of a lawsuit filed by 21 states against the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, which would expand the forms of public aid that could disqualify immigrants from receiving green cards.

In the amicus brief filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of Washington, the groups, which include the Center for Public Representation (CPR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities, argue the rule will restrict disabled people from becoming citizens.ADVERTISEMENT

The rule, announced in mid-August, is scheduled to take effect Oct. 15. It would add programs including food stamps and Medicaid to those the government can cite to claim an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge” and deny them a green card.

“In the new test, they have really taken these multiple factors in a way that per se excludes people with disabilities,” Alison Barkoff, director of advocacy at the CPR, told The Hill.

For example, she said, while the public-charge rule has historically factored in health, “now they’ve basically taken this health factor and defined it as disability,” she said.

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