Los Angeles, CA – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement today in response to the Trump administration’s proposed new rule that seeks to impose unprecedented and alarming limits on legal immigration and punish immigrants who legally access public services:

“Demonstrating once again lawlessness, incompetence, and inhumanity, Donald Trump has released his further plan to persecute and demonize immigrants by punishing them for completely lawful decisions to access available safety-net support for essential family survival and preservation. Trump’s proposed new ‘public charge’ rule, released by the feckless Kristjen Nielsen, is as execrable and gratuitous as expected.

“Proving Trump’s complete inability to obtain competent legal advice – whether for his policy initiatives or for personal misconduct that may soon result in his own public charge or charges – the proposed rules are plainly unlawful. Once again arrogating non-existent dictatorial power, Trump has put forward rule-making that contradicts duly-enacted statutory law. By enacting or sanctioning federal and state laws granting immigrant eligibility for the programs in Trump’s proposed rule – and by doing so in more recent and specific enactments than the hoary ‘public charge’ statute upon which Trump relies – Congress has indicated, under long-established canons of statutory construction, that it does not intend use of these programs to result in exclusion from immigration benefits.

“In short, Trump is impotent to implement this element of the extreme and nativist agenda he strives to impose. Nonetheless, MALDEF urges congressional leaders to step up to oppose these despicable proposed rules, and we ask every member of the public to join in responding to the proposed rule-making with a thunderous rejection in the public comment period.”