The largest immigrant rights organization in California, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), denounces a proposed rule change by the Trump administration that imposes extra conditions to those who want to adjust their immigration status, ruling them out of the process if they have ever used any publicly-funded benefits such as food stamps.

The Trump administration wants to block one of the few legal avenues people still have to immigrate to the United States. By radically altering a long-standing interpretation of the public charge rule, DHS wants to set up a pay-to-play immigration system where the well-to-do get ahead of families who have waited years to be reunited.

America is as strong as our families are healthy. Forcing immigrants to choose between their families’ basic needs, such as food or housing — which they help fund with their tax dollars  — and a path to legalization crosses yet another line. Trump’s public charge changes would make our communities and our nation sicker, hungrier, poorer.

President Trump is trying to divide this nation while his nativist, anti-immigrant cronies insert a citizenship question into the census, fund the construction of additional family detention centers, end or seriously curtail refugee programs, and use backhanded methods to suppress immigrant voting through a horrendous backlog of naturalization applications.

We know the American people will fight back these initiatives that do not represent what we are all about. Americans agree that how you live your life and what you contribute to your community is what defines you as a member of that community.

We will not let President Trump tear apart more families nor trample over our nation’s tradition of joining together across racial, ethnic, and immigration status lines when someone is being targeted unfairly.

Angelica Salas is the executive director for CHIRLA