California joins multi-state coalition supporting health care for immigrant families

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SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Saturday that he is working alongside New York Attorney General Letitia James to lead a coalition of 17 U.S. officials across the country to support and fight for better access to health care and proper food for immigrant families.

“Immigrants are a central part of our nation’s identity, culture and prosperity,” said Attorney General Bonta in a press release. “Hardworking immigrants helped build this nation and are the backbone of our economy. The shameful Trump-era public charge rule caused many immigrant families and parents to forego public programs like healthcare and nutritional assistance — we must not allow such a cruel policy to be resurrected. California stands with the Biden Administration in its fight to ensure immigrant families are unafraid to access programs designed to build strong, healthy communities.”

The updated regulations oppose Trump-era changes which forced immigrants and their families to avoid applying for essential health, nutrition and housing programs they were eligible for.

The coalition of attorneys general stressed in the amicus brief the significance of the Biden administration’s new, improved “public charge” regulations supporting their states’ decision to safeguard the health and welfare of immigrant families and all residents.

The regulations are particularly impactful in California, as more than 10 million immigrants call the state home. Half of all children in California have at least one immigrant parent.

Officials tout expected benefits to the states that include improved immunization rates and better infectious disease outbreaks responses; fostering the health and academic progress of students by increased participation in school lunch programs and school-based activities; and reducing financial and administrative burden on state agencies, public health systems and safety net providers.

California and New York are joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia in the filing.

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