Data Shows Hispanic, African, and Asian Communities Harmed, Further Exposes Trump’s Hostility Toward Immigrants

Unlawful Policy Change Leads to Dramatic Consequences for Immigrants and Citizen Family Members


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Democracy Forward issued a statement in response to new data obtained by Politico showing that the Trump administration has dramatically increased the number of visa denials to applicants from Hispanic, African, and Asian communities on the grounds that they risk becoming a “public charge.” As the internal State Department data show, between October 1, 2018 and July 29, 2019, the State Department denied visas to over five thousand Mexican applicants on this basis, in contrast with the 7 Mexican nationals denied visas in the final year of the Obama administration.

Last November, Democracy Forward partnered with Baltimore to file a lawsuit against the President’s unlawful, under-the-radar changes to the State Department’s public charge policy. The administration provided no prior notice of the changes and no explanation for why it deviated from the decades-old definition of public charge. The changes were motivated by the Trump administration’s well-known hostility towards certain immigrant groups—most notably Hispanic, Asian, and African communities—and so violate the Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection.

19 states, 17 cities and counties, 10 civil rights organizations, and 5 Maryland immigrant advocacy groups filed amicus briefs in support of the lawsuit.

Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy issued the following statement in response to the new data:

“These figures provide more evidence of what has long been clear: this Trump administration attack on communities of color, including immigrant communities, is rooted in racism, is unlawful, and is hurting even more people than we previously knew.”


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

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