Charisma Troiano, Democracy Forward Press Secretary, spoke with Make It Plain’s Mark Thompson about the lawsuit we filed as co-counsel with Baltimore challenging the Trump Administration’s unlawful change to the State Department’s definition of public charge.

In January 2018, the Trump Administration made an unlawful, under-the-radar change to the State Department’s definition of “public charge,” a provision in immigration law that limits who may come to the United States. Since then, consular officers have been required to consider whether visa applicants or their family members, including their U.S. citizen family members, have received non-cash benefits like free school lunches, public health vaccinations, and Head Start.

“The Trump administration has truly been egregious when it comes to immigrants, hasn’t it?” -Mark Thompson, Make It Plain

Charisma and Mark discussed the impact of that change on immigrant communities and on the city of Baltimore in particular. Even the Trump Administration has acknowledged that families will face higher rates of communicable disease, malnourished infants, and increased poverty as a consequence of its public charge policies–and Baltimore is no exception. We and Baltimore have filed the first lawsuit in the country to challenge the State Department’s unlawful, discriminatory policy.

“This hostility breeds an animus towards immigrants, and that’s what motivated his change in policy.” -Charisma Troiano

As Charisma points out, this policy change affects us all, regardless of our immigration status. Make sure to listen to the full interview to understand how this dangerous policy is hurting our communities and what we’re doing about it.