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MI Attorney General urges government to stop discouraging immigrants from accessing health care coverage during pandemic

Dana Nessel
Posted at 12:56 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 12:58:55-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 17 other attorneys general in urging the federal government to delay its "public charge" rule.

The attorney general's office said federal regulations allow many lawful immigrants to apply for public health benefits like health care, if they have been in the country for at least five years, but said the "public charge" rule creates a "bait-and-switch," which means if immigrants use the public assistance that they are legally entitled to, they would jeopardize their chances of later renewing their visa or becoming permanent residents.

“Michigan is home to tens of thousands of legal immigrants who have every legal right to receive health care benefits without facing consequences for accepting them,” said Nessel. “COVID-19 doesn’t care who it infects and that’s evident in its impact on our nation and around the world. The federal government should want to do nothing but ensure all who live in this country have access to the care they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I urge our U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to do the right thing and suspend this rule at least while we’re in the midst of this crisis.”

The attorney general is a part of a coalition that is challenging the rule, which has already won an injunction in federal district court.

The attorney general's office said the letter was sent on March 19 to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Senior Official Ken Cuccinelli.

You can read that full letter here.

For more information on the coalition, click here.

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