In October the federal government proposed new “public charge” regulations that are a significant departure from long-standing immigration policy. The new definition of “public charge” could change from someone who uses government assistance as their main source of support to someone who is likely at any time in the future to receive public assistance.

In Utah, immigrants are an integral part of our community. They make up a significant part of our labor force and strengthen our state’s economy. This proposed rule would make immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs such as food, housing and health care.

Food insecurity and lack of preventative health care can lead to increased health expenditures, weakened housing programs may increase homelessness and fear in our immigrant communities can lead to large-scale disenrollment of families from public benefit programs, even programs that will not be affected by the rule.

Punishing our citizens for accessing basic needs could make Utah sicker, hungrier and poorer. The public can comment on the rule until Dec. 10. Comment today and let them know how the proposed rule could harm you, your family, or those in your community.

Casey Logan, Murray