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Mayor Durkan and City Attorney Holmes Condemn “Public Charge” Proposal That Would Harm Seattle Communities

Proposal Would Unjustly Impact Legal Residency Process by Punishing Lower-Income Immigrant Families

Seattle (October 10) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes condemned the Trump administration’s proposed “public charge” regulations announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These proposed rules would effectively impose an income test on immigrants and their families applying for green cards, forcing them to choose between reuniting with their loved ones and accessing crucial government services like health care, housing assistance, and other public benefits.

“Time and again, we have seen this administration continue their cruel, divisive and unlawful attacks on our immigrant and refugee neighbors,” said Mayor Durkan. “Their actions today are no exception: This new public charge determination is dangerous for our communities and our City. I am proud that the City of Seattle is standing boldly and loudly in opposition to this rule. By now, this administration should know that Seattle refuses to back down when they attack the rights and safety of our communities.”

“America is a nation of immigrants, from Ellis Island to Angel Island, and we have welcomed our immigrant and refugee neighbors,” said City Attorney Pete Holmes. “This is yet another heartless policy from the Trump administration that assaults our core American values and tears the fabric of our communities.”

The City of Seattle is drafting an official public comment opposing the rule’s implementation. In addition, Mayor Durkan has joined a bipartisan coalition of the U.S. Conference of Mayors calling on the federal government to abandon this rule.

“In line with our values as a welcoming city, it is important that our immigrant friends and neighbors know that we are united in opposing this inhumane proposal,” said Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs director Cuc Vu. “The current proposal does not include City of Seattle programs, such as the Utility Discount Program and the Seattle Preschool Program. And anyone can access Seattle services regardless of your citizenship status.”

The City of Seattle advises that people who fear they may be affected by the proposed rule continue accepting assistance if they are eligible. The Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs has created a Public Charge FAQ page to help community members navigate the potential impacts on their lives. The FAQ is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular status or use of benefits, you should speak with an immigration attorney or BIA-accredited representative. You might qualify for a free immigration consultation at the Seattle/King County Immigrant Legal Defense Network.