September 23, 2020

Cortez Masto Condemns Administration Rule That Would Penalize Immigrant Families for Using Health Care and Safety Net Benefits

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) condemned a decision by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to allow the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny visas and green cards to certain immigrants who use key safety net programs, including Medicaid and SNAP. 

“Nevada has been one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and hardworking immigrant families shouldn’t be penalized for trying to make ends meet and seeking care for their children. This policy harms communities across Nevada, spreads fear and misinformation that discourages people from seeking medical assistance in the middle of a pandemic and deters families from applying for benefits for their U.S. citizen children. During these challenging times, I’ll continue to support Nevada’s immigrant communities, many of whom are the frontline workers keeping us safe and supporting our essential businesses.”


Earlier in his term, President Trump proposed a rule that would put certain legally present immigrants at risk of not receiving a visa or green card if they used (or were determined likely to use) a broader set of public benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing and Section 8 Assistance and Medicaid (with exceptions). The rule was finalized in 2019, and it has had the effect of deterring immigrants and their families from accessing needed health care and nutrition supports. Since then, litigation has intermittently blocked the administration from moving forward with the policy.

Last week, a panel of Second Circuit judges stayed an injunction on the rule’s implementation in New York, Vermont and Connecticut. The ruling allows DHS to implement the rule nationwide as the litigation proceeds.

Senator Cortez Masto is a cosponsor of the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act to ensure that all communities have access to urgently needed COVID-19 testing, public health information, and relief benefits regardless of immigration status or limited English proficiency.