Potential Changes to Federal Immigration Policy Could Cost CA Big Time

  • Dec 26 2018

New immigration rules that could serve to deny immigrants lawful permanent residency may be implemented as soon as spring 2019. This includes individuals who U.S. immigration officials consider to be of “public charge” – those who have received certain housing, health care, or nutrition assistance benefits

New Analysis Conducted

Should these new laws be implemented, it could spell trouble for the state of California, which according to analysis by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and California Food Policy Advocates, could lose up to $1.67 billion in federal benefits.

This spending supports a large number of jobs throughout the state and such a large decrease of it could have an ongoing affect on the affected families both directly and indirectly. Disconcertingly, the state could end up losing a total of 17,700 jobs and $2.8 billion.

Potential Job Losses from Health Care & Food-Related Industries

Over half of California’s potential job losses would be coming from the state’s health care sector (47%) and its food-related industries (10%). According to Ninez Ponce, director of the UCLA center, more than one-quarter of California’s population (of almost 40 million people) is made up of immigrants. Ponce emphasized the impact that immigrants make on the state’s economy, taxes, and workforce, and explained that these new regulations would serve to hurt communities throughout the state.

New Policy May Hurt Families

These newly proposed changes would differ from the current public programs that are considered for public charge: cash assistance and long-term institutional care. By adding to the public programs considered for public charge, this would reduce the likelihood of immigrants being able to obtain a green card. For example, according to Tia Shimada, director of programs at California Food Policy Advocates, 10% of Californians utilize the CalFresh nutrition assistance in order to feed their families. Shimada believes in the idea that entire communities benefit when all of their citizens have the basic resources that they need and warns that the proposed changes would have the opposite affect on their communities, making for a “sicker, hungrier and poorer state.”

Great Decrease in Program Enrollment

The proposed changes may even serve to have unintended consequences including people removing themselves from these much-needed programs out of fear – even if they are not legally subject to this new test. This may include up to 301,000 from the CalFresh program and as many as 741,000 from Medi-Cal benefits. If over 700,000 people no longer access Medi-Cal benefits, the state’s health care system could end up losing up to $1.2 billion in federal dollars. Even more alarming is that two-thirds of those who may leave the program would be children, who are much more likely to obtain preventative care than children who are not insured. You can visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website to find out more.

Posted in: Immigration Law