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Confused by New Immigration Guidelines? An Alhambra Meeting May Clarify

Alhambra is a melting pot for diverse communities as witnessed at this year's Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival. Photo by Bastian Mendez.

Location

Alhambra , CA

In an effort to offer some clarity on how proposed changes to U.S. Public Charge policy on immigration may  impact students and families on the local level, Alhambra Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler and Alhambra Unified Schools Superintendent Denise Jaramillo will take part in an informational meeting on Wednesday night at Reese Hall at the Alhambra Civic Center Library.

The program, entitled “Changes to Federal Public Charge Policy: Challenges to Keeping Our Children Strong” begins at 5:30 p.m. and will run until 8 p.m. Dinner will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. and real time translations will be provided in Cantonese/Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese during the program.

In mid-August, the Trump Administration announced changes to the Public Charge policy as it relates to those applying for Green Cards and legal status. The policy currently requires proof that an immigrant applying to become a permanent resident or extend a visa not become a “public charge”  or dependent on federal benefits. The new standards, which are scheduled to be implemented in mid-October unless they are blocked through legal challenges, lists a wider range of programs that might disqualify an applicant. 

At present, school meal or other school programs financed with federal money aren’t on the expanded list of programs But public school advocates across the country have voiced concern about the wider standards and the trickle-down impact they might have. Some families, for instance, enroll children in school lunch programs while enrolling in other programs that now may be under the new wider Public Charge guidelines.

“The Impact of the guidelines is indirect but real,” said Vivian Watts, the AUSD Director of Food and Nutrition.

Wednesday’s meeting will begin with opening remarks from AUSD Superintendent Jaramillo.

“At AUSD, we agree with LACOE Superintendent, Dr. Debra Duardo, that the new public charge regulations will make our children hungrier, less healthy and more likely to become homeless,” Jaramillo said in a statement.  “But it is not only immigrant families seeking a change in status who will bear this burden. These chilling effects will ripple throughout communities and potentially destabilize school districts, harming children, causing an atmosphere of fear which makes it difficult for students to focus on learning.”

Jaramillo will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mayor Andrade-Stadler that will touch on a wide range of issues associated with Public Charge policy.  Included on the panel will be Vibiana Andrade, general counsel of the LA County Office of Education and Anali Fernandini of the LACOE office of Immigrant Affairs. Lily Choi of Neighborhood Legal Services, Los Angeles, and Leisette Rodriguez of Bet Tzedek, the free legal services organization, and a representative of AAAJ-LA will also be on the panel.

Andrade-Stadler was a driving force in setting up the Wednesday night meeting. She has voiced her concerns over the Public Charge policy changes and the importance of this meeting.

“Children are every community’s most precious resource,” she said in a statement.  “The new changes to public charge rules will have an indirect but significant impact on families and schools if, out of fear, they deter families from seeking assistance under certain programs. When the basic survival needs of children are not met, children can’t learn, or stay healthy and all of us are affected. Through this informational meeting we are making sure families know their options and that they have our support.”

Other leaders expected to be in attendance include Garvey School District Superintendent Anita Chu, Lauren Jacobs, from the office of Congress member Judy Chu,  Alhambra Teachers Assn. President Tammy Scorcia and board member Javier Gutierrez,  as well as other members and staff from NLSLA, AUSD and the Garvey School District. 

The meeting is hosted by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Alhambra,  the City of Alhambra, Alhambra United School District, Alhambra Teachers Assn., Asian Americans Advancing Justice- LA, in conjunction with the office of Congress member Chu.

NLSLA and Bet Tzedek, both low income legal service providers, are also hosting the program.

 In addition, later in September, AAAJ-LA is hosting a free legal consultation on Public Charge and what it may mean to individuals. The session is scheduled for Sept. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Alhambra High School, 101 S. 2nd St. Alhambra, 91801.  Assistance will be available in Cantonese/Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese and English.

 For more information or to RSVP for the Wednesday night event of the legal forum, please visit: bit.ly/publiccharge_9_19

English Public Charge Outreach – Alhambra by on Scribd

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