WASHINGTON — The Urban Institute released an analysis Thursday, finding that the Biden Administration has failed to mitigate the “chilling effect” resulting from the Trump Administration’s expanded public charge regulation and its consequences for the health and well-being of immigrant families. The analysis finds that 25% of people in mixed-status families avoided health care and social service programs last year, because of immigration concerns. The analysis specifically cites the public charge chilling effect as a persistent concern. That figure is roughly unchanged from the 27.7% of people in mixed-status families the Urban Institute found were chilled in 2020, when the Trump policy was still in force.
Just weeks after taking office, President Biden issued Executive Order 14012, describing as essential “that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them.” The Biden Administration reversed the Trump public charge regulation in March 2021 and replaced it with a new, less restrictive, one in late 2022.
Reacting to the Urban Institute analysis, the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition issued the following statement by its director, Adriana Cadena:
“We warned the White House years ago that policy change would only deliver real health and well-being gains for immigrant families if backed by a substantial outreach commitment. They’ve worked with us on community events, and we’ve appreciated that, but the data speaks for itself. This analysis confirms what we’ve heard from organizations all over the country – the Biden Administration has failed to communicate to immigrant families that the threat posed by the Trump public charge regulation is long gone. With a possible recession on the horizon, flu season starting in just a few weeks, and COVID-19 case counts on the rise, the stakes right now are incredibly high. The Administration must do better.”