Indiana Attorney General wants change to public charge rule

NOW: Indiana Attorney General wants change to public charge rule

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Here in Michiana, we continue to see immigrants come to the area seeking a better life for their families.

Some call it chasing the American Dream.

“We want everyone to have the American Dream, but the American Dream is coming here for liberty and the freedom to work and to build your own life and to build your own wealth. If that’s your goal, build your family. Not to come here to take free programs," said Rokita.

Rokita is spearheading an effort to make it harder for anyone using social services to become a legal citizen.

Essentially, if there’s a chance someone may rely on the children’s health insurance program, snap, or other benefits – Rokita wants that to disqualify them from gaining citizenship.

“Those that are coming to this country, I think it’s very reasonable to make sure that they’re not gonna be what we call a public charge. That they’re not gonna be a burden on taxpayers the minute they set foot here," said Rokita.

Executive Director for La Casa de Amistad Juan Constantino says Rokita’s argument is insensitive to immigrants because they’re equally subjected to taxes just like everyone is — no matter what their immigration status is.

“Our immigrant community and even our undocumented community are taxpayers they’re working and paying taxes to this economy in the city, the county, and throughout the state and country. So, to have that differentiation is just wrong and simply untrue," said Constantino.

The city of South Bend’s population grew by more than 22-hundred, in the 2020 census – the largest and fastest growth the city has seen since the 1950s.

It was mainly driven by Hispanic and Latino populations – which jumped 31-percent according to the city.

Constantino believes that growth will be impacted by less green card applications if this law passes.

“Depending on what happens whether it be legal support, social services support, or access to food, housing, toiletries, or clothes this center is going to be here to entirely support the community," said Constantino.

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