PIF’s opinion research finds that immigrant families trust immigration attorneys as authorities on questions of safety net programs and immigration. But while immigration attorneys understand immigration law, they often do not have a deep understanding of safety net programs.
That’s why we created the “Herlinda letter.” Herlinda Ibarra was a health enrollment eligibility manager in Texas during the Trump administration – a time when fears of public charge and other immigration related concerns were driving mixed-status families away from safety net programs. When she learned that immigration attorneys were inaccurately advising the immigrant families she worked with to stop enrolling in safety net programs, Herlinda began reaching out to those lawyers with accurate information about the relevant program and the fact that it was not considered in public charge determinations.
Because of this energetic defense of her clients and fearless outreach to immigration attorneys, Herlinda was almost single-handedly responsible for the fact that, uniquely, her health center did not see a decline in enrollment during a period that saw widespread reduction in enrollment for immigrant families. PIF created this tool so others can adopt her approach, and we named it the Herlinda letter to honor her leadership and dedication.
This tool is fully customizable for your organizations and your state programs. Clicking the links below will open a Google Docs version of the Herlinda letter in view-only mode. This tool is fully customizable for your organizations and your state programs. Each version includes a link you can use to build a customized version with your own branding (we ask that you please also retain the PIF logo), translate into languages used by immigrant families in your community, or include the names your state uses for safety net programs like Medicaid or TANF. Please contact us with questions or if you run into problems accessing the documents.
Lastly, we want to extend our thanks to Herlinda and to all hardworking enrollment assisters helping immigrant families navigate the obstacles to enrollment in safety net programs. We are excited to see this tool put to work.