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Member Action Urged: Proposed Homeland Security rule change would impact schools

Something that may not be making most members’ education radar this week is a Homeland Security release from September 22 of proposed rule changes, now open for public comment.

Instead of keeping the current definition of a “public charge” as someone “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,” the Department of Homeland Security would start denying green cards and temporary visas to anyone who is deemed likely at any time in the future to receive any government benefit from a specified list.


If immigrants stop signing up for such benefits, how does this impact schools? Two ways immediately come to mind:
1.CHIP and Medicaid, both of which are federal benefits, cover 39% of children in the United States. Imagine nearly 4 out of 10 children not having health insurance: not getting well visits, not visiting the doctor when they are sick, not getting vaccinations. Now imagine what that does to schools.
2.Under direct certification, SNAP and other benefits are how the determination is made of who is eligible for free and reduced lunch. It is how community eligibility--currently feeding entire districts of children--is determined. The result will be hungry kids both in and out of school. It also is what counts for economically disadvantaged numbers in the foundation budget, so districts won't be counting all of their kids who are poor.

The proposed changes have been released for public comment until December 10th. Members are urged to comment on how such a change would impact their district.