By Karen Grove
I'm proud that in 2017, the city of Menlo Park declared our values of inclusivity and diversity by passing a Welcoming City resolution and a Sanctuary City ordinance. Now we, the residents of Menlo Park, must take action to defend those values and protect our immigrant families by opposing one of the latest moves in the Trump administration's attack on immigrants and refugees.
The administration has proposed a rule change that will penalize applicants for permanent residence for their use of public assistance, including access to publicly funded health care, nutrition and housing, for being too young or too old, or for not being wealthy.
The proposed new rule would cause immigrant families to avoid seeking public assistance in any form. Even fully employed immigrant families, working their fingers to the bone, use public services, because one job -- sometimes even two or three -- is not enough to make ends meet.
Those most harmed will be children, including citizen children, who will experience life-long harm to their mental and physical health caused by the toxic stress of poverty.
The harm caused by this rule won't be limited to immigrants and their children. Avoiding routine health care often results in more serious, more expensive publicly funded emergency care. Moreover, if we discourage immigrants from accessing health care, we place the whole community at public health risk. Schools will struggle to educate children experiencing pain from untreated dental disease or hunger, and all students will suffer.
It doesn't have to be this way.
We can support all our residents and provide opportunity to all. We know that it is well worth doing so, because half of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children, and immigrants have made immeasurable contributions to American arts and culture.
My father, Andy Grove, escaped to the United States from Hungary in 1956, and my mom, Eva Kastan Grove, immigrated to the United States from Bolivia in the 1950s after escaping from Austria in 1938 after her father was rounded up and fortuitously released on Kristallnacht.
Together, my parents raised two daughters, built Intel into a Fortune 500 company, and started the Grove Foundation.
My parents would not have been able to contribute to their family, community, and the economy of this country and the world if they had not attended excellent colleges in New York City -- for free; if they had not been able to count on public health services, and safe places to live.
The Grove Foundation seeks to make the "American Dream" that my parents experienced, and that so many others seek, into a reality for all, regardless of when or how they got to this country, and no matter how much or how little money they have. We work nationally and locally, and we cannot achieve our mission without our government's cooperation and commitment, so I ask your help in opposing this new rule.
Before the "public charge" rule can be finalized, the administration must review and respond to every unique public comment it receives about the proposed regulation.
Please join me in submitting a comment opposing the rule change by the Dec. 10 deadline. You may do so at protectingimmigrantfamilies.org, where you will find additional information about the proposed rule.
Karen Grove is a Menlo Park resident, and chair of the Grove Foundation.