As advocates for young children and families, we at First 5 Contra Costa join our First 5 colleagues across the state, as well as Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders in strongly opposing the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule expansion to take effect October 15, barring legal challenges. This rule, when fully enacted, will allow government officials to deny green cards to immigrant applicants who receive certain public benefits intended to help families meet basic living needs.
This rule change disproportionately targets immigrant families and their young children, depriving them of basic needs such as food and housing. It also comes on the heels of numerous similar attacks that directly affect the health and well-being of children.
For many months, we have seen ongoing, unspeakable acts of cruelty directed at children and their families on our southern border. Children have been separated from their families, kept in inhumane settings that none of us would wish for any child and their parents unable to find them.
More recently, we have seen white domestic terrorism and hate crimes targeting immigrants and people of color in El Paso, Dayton and in Gilroy—where a 6-year-old child was among those murdered. Only days later, we witnessed children traumatized after being separated from their parents in a large-scale Mississippi immigration raid, with many children still living without a parent.
The climate of fear and deprivation that now hangs over immigrant communities and communities of color threatens the health and wellbeing of young children everywhere. Parents are withdrawing children from preschools, avoiding public clinics, and even purchasing bulletproof backpacks.
Healthy child development is dependent on loving and supportive relationships with adults and caregivers of all kinds, in families, communities and society at large. It is our shared responsibility – and to our shared benefit – that we ensure children grow up surrounded by love, compassion and support.
First 5 Contra Costa joins the many community leaders and elected officials who are taking action to oppose these attacks on our communities and families. We encourage our communities, our county, and our state to join us in our commitment that all children are raised in safe, nurturing families and communities.
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