Immigrants Dropping Medicaid Coverage Due to Misinformation About New Public Charge Policy

By Jeanine Stone on November 9, 2019

Misconceptions about the Trump Administration’s new public charge policy are causing many immigrants to refrain from seeking Medicaid coverage for their children out of fear of deportation. The rule is facing multiple legal challenges nationwide and although it was scheduled to go into effect on October 16, 2019, at least one federal district judge has issued a nationwide injunction preventing the rule from going into effect.

Under the new public charge rule, federal immigration officials will be able to deny visa and green card applications from immigrants whom they believe could become a public charge, or primarily dependent on government aid. Officials could determine that individuals are likely to become public charges based on their low income, or their prior use of benefits programs such as Medicaid and SNAP or food assistance.

Immigrants Dropping Medicaid Coverage
Due to Misinformation About New Public Charge Policy

The public charge rule has been in effect since 1882, but historically has been very vague. In the past, the rule has been applicable only to individuals whose entire income came from government cash benefits or who needed extensive medical care and had no insurance coverage.

However, the new rule refers to various other benefits programs, including health care, food stamps, cash assistance, and public housing programs. It also increases the income threshold for applicants to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines.

In response to the public charge rule, immigrants are removing themselves and their children from healthcare and food assistance programs, even if they already have valid visas or green cards. The misinformation about the new policy circulating in immigrant communities is making all immigrants wary of using any government benefits, even if they are entitled to them or usage would not affect their legal immigration status. Immigrant parents with special needs children, for instance, may believe that they must remove their children from Medicaid, even if the public charge rule doesn’t apply to them and their situation.

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the cases of countless individuals who are facing immigration problems. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. As a result, we will strive to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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Teen is Convicted of Murder of Iraqi Immigrant in Texas

By Peek & Toland on August 2, 2016

A jury in Dallas recently sentenced a teenager to 38 years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi immigrant as he went outside to take pictures of the first snow he had ever seen.

It was a crime that shocked the city of Dallas and one that appeared to demonstrate some of the hostility immigrants to the United States face.

However, prosecutors decided the killing was not a hate crime.

Teen is convicted of murder of Iraqi in Texas

A jury in Dallas convicted Nykerion Nealon, 19, of fatally shooting 36-year-old Ahmed al-Jumaili, in March 2015, reported Reuters. The Iraqi immigrant was standing in the parking lot of his apartment complex taking pictures of snow at the time. Murder is defined under Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code which we detail here.

The killing came just three weeks after the Iraqi arrived in the United States. Although the homicide was initially investigated as a hate crime, the authorities later concluded that Nealon did not know al-Jumaili’s ethnicity and may have killed him in retaliation for a shooting at his girlfriend’s apartment.

Nealon was 17 years old at the time of the killing. He ended up firing 14 rounds from an assault rifle. One of them struck al-Jumaili in the chest.

Advocates for immigrants said the crime illustrated some of the dangers newcomers face in the United States. Alia Salem, executive director of the Dallas branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said:

“Coming to this country for a new start, only to have it stripped away from them in such a horrible fashion, has been unimaginable.”

Hate crimes in Texas are defined in The Texas Hate Crimes Act, Chapter 411.046 of the Texas Government Code.

These are crimes that are defined as “motivated by prejudice, hatred, or advocacy of violence.” Typically these are crimes in which the offender demonstrates prejudice based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

The Texas Department of Public Safety recorded 243 hate crimes in the state in 2007. Race forms the largest proportion of these crimes – more than 50 percent – and the highest number are anti-black.

Hate crimes against Muslims rose dramatically after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and also rose after 2009, according to Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.

There can often be a gray area between a crime of violence and a hate crime. In some cases prosecutors will wrongly label an offense a hate crime.

If you are charged with an offense of this nature, it’s important to contact an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call us today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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