The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
October 23, 2018
Dear Sec. Nielsen,
I am writing today on behalf of the Diverse Elders Coalition, a national advocacy
organization working to improve aging for racially and ethnically diverse people,
American Indians and Alaska Natives, and LGBT people. We strongly oppose the
public charge rule USCIS-2010-0012-0001 proposed in the Federal Register on
October 10, 2018 and urge you to withdraw it.
Older immigrants comprise 15% of the adults age 65 and older in the United States. If
authorized, this rule would directly impact many of the programs that those older adults
rely on, such as Medicaid and the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and housing assistance. A policy deterring
older adults from accessing these vital programs will lead to even more elders in our
communities living in poverty, not having enough to eat, and compromising their
health and well-being, all of which result in greater costs to taxpayers.
The proposed rule would also have a powerful and devastating impact on the people
who provide care for older adults. An increasing share of paid caregivers for older
adults are immigrants, and many immigrants in the direct care workforce are
themselves over age 55. As the United States population gets older, the needs of older
adults will continue to grow. By 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to
be 83.7 million, almost double the 65+ population in 20121. The need for direct-care
workers, many of whom are immigrants, will likewise grow. Immigrants strengthen our
communities and provide vital care to older adults, saving millions in taxpayer dollars.
Our communities also benefit from the contributions of younger immigrant workers,
who pay into Social Security and Medicare for decades, thereby strengthening the
financing of these programs for us all.
No one should be forced to choose between accepting government assistance and living
in safety with the people they love. Please withdraw this rule, which unduly punishes
older adults and immigrant communities in the United States and would weaken the
fabric of our nation for generations to come.
National Managing Coordinator
Diverse Elders Coalition