Immigrant Families Continued Avoiding the Safety Net during the COVID-19 Crisis
In 2020, almost one in seven adults in immigrant families (13.6 percent) reported that they or a family member avoided a noncash government benefit program, such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or housing assistance, because of concerns about future green card applications.
This “chilling effect” was most significant in families more likely to be directly affected by the rule, those in which one or more members do not have a green card (27.7 percent). Immigrant families avoided public benefits and supports not only because of perceived risks of how the public charge rule might affect their ability to secure a green card but because of broader immigration concerns, such as the risk of information being shared with immigration enforcement authorities or the deportation of family members.
In 2020, more than one in six adults in immigrant families (17.8 percent) reported avoiding a noncashgovernment benefit program or other help with basic needs because of green card concerns or other worries aboutimmigration status or enforcement. More than one in three adults in families in which one or more members do nothave a green card (36.1 percent) reported these broader chilling effects
Bernstein, H., Karpman, M., Gonzalez, D., Zuckerman, S. (2021, February). Immigrant Families Continued Avoiding the Safety Net during the COVID-19 Crisis. Urban Institute. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/103565/immigrant-families-continued-avoiding-the-safety-net-during-the-covid-19-crisis.pdf