As physicians, we are taught that our duty is to do no harm. A proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security may lead to harm by having the opposite of its intended effect.
The proposed “public charge” rule would make it harder for legal immigrants in this country to extend a visa or qualify for a green card if they have used public benefits. The rule could harm low-income workers by forcing them to choose between accessing vital work supports—basic health coverage, food and housing services that keep them healthy and able to work—and maintaining their immigration status. Their families could be affected, too.