Yesterday the federal government released a long-anticipated regulation that broadens the definition of “public charge” for immigrants who have accepted public benefits like food stamps or housing assistance, making it more difficult for them to enter the country or become permanent residents. Jina Krause-Vilmar, CEO of Upwardly Global, gave the following statement in response to the rule change:
“When immigrants come to this country, they inevitably hit bumps in the road – but ultimately, they succeed. Upwardly Global has over 6,000 data points that support this. Each represents an individual in our coaching program – someone who was temporarily unemployed or underemployed, experienced hardships or accepted public aid – who today is back to work in a professional field, earning an average of $55,300 and contributing tens of thousands of tax dollars back into our system.
These individuals face legitimate cultural and structural barriers to putting their skills to work. And policies that penalize temporary setbacks instead of recognizing future promise rob our country of the contributions of these diverse, resilient, and innovative workers. Half of Upwardly Global’s program participants have backgrounds in STEM and healthcare, fields with documented worker shortages. All of them are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Upwardly Global redoubles its commitment to addressing the systemic and cultural barriers that keep immigrant professionals from fully putting their skills to work and to building system where all workers can fully contribute and thrive.”
Upwardly Global, founded in 2000, is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. helping work-authorized immigrants and refugees successfully translate their education, skills and previous careers into the U.S. workforce. To date, the organization has trained 14,000 foreign-educated immigrants and has assisted more than 6,000 individuals back into their career fields.