September 27, 2018

Board of County Commissioners' Statement on Proposed Federal Public Benefit Rule Changes

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Trump Administration proposed rule changes that drastically expand the types of assistance that could jeopardize an individual’s application for entry or legal permanent residency to the United States.

The proposed changes would broaden a federal rule that determines whether someone seeking entry into the United States or legal permanent residency may become a financial burden to the government, such that they can be denied entry or residency status.

While the policy has not yet gone into effect  and the final rules are still months away, we are aware of the profound fear the proposal has sparked in our communities. We are closely watching for further developments.

At Multnomah County, we strive to do everything we can to support the families in our community. But this proposal would unfairly target immigrant families, including those with children born in the United States, by creating barriers to accessing critical services such as health care, housing assistance, or food. Data shows that programs providing these services improve health, economic, and school outcomes. They are investments in our shared future, not hand-outs.

This proposed change imperils not only the health of children and whether they grow up prepared for a productive future. It jeopardizes the health of our nation. Our country was built on a strong sense of democracy. It has thrived with the promise of liberty and justice for all. We are made stronger by the limitless potential of all our residents and our policies need to reflect those values.

Multnomah County is proud to be a welcoming county, and we continue to welcome all people, regardless of race, origin, immigration status--whether or not they need our support.

As the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, we stand united in opposition to these proposed changes. We urge the Trump Administration to withdraw this proposal and refocus on strengthening policy that supports the health and well being of all families.

For more information, please visit multco.us/global for updates and resources, including fact sheets published in a number of languages.

Please contact our offices with any questions.  

Respectfully,

Chair Deborah Kafoury

Vice Chair Commissioner Lori Stegmann

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

Commissioner Loretta Smith

Commissioner Dr. Sharon Meieran