Fighting Fear with Facts: “It All Starts with Trust”

February 3, 2020 | National

The Trump administration’s cruel, confusing and anti-immigrant public charge regulations are intentionally wonky and complex. Although the regulations directly apply only to a small number of people, the administration’s point is to sow fear among immigrant communities and chill use of public benefits. Fighting this fear poses a unique challenge to community based organizations (CBOs) who are working on the ground to provide accurate information, squash false rumors and keep families enrolled in the programs for which they are eligible.

The Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign, a hub of resources, research and advocacy, recently published a report highlighting the incredible work CBOs do to rapidly respond to emerging needs, build trust and counter misinformation. The report is a wealth of information and features case studies of best practices from organizations across the country—including the Texas branch of the Children’s Defense Fund!

Outreach workers, promoters and community organizers have proven to be a key way to help families navigate the confusion surrounding public charge. At CDF-Texas, Graciela Camarena, director of the health outreach program, says, “It all starts with trust–the people who are speaking have received first-hand information, have received training, are familiar with what’s going on because they themselves have experienced that situation, or have family members in the same situation. I say it, but I’ve also lived it.”

Trust and community. Two things fundamental to CBOs, and two things many organizations have been able to adapt and leverage into successful public charge interventions.

The legal battles against public charge regulations continue in the courts, and so too does the fight against fear within communities. Thank goodness for CDF-Texas and the many, many groups across the nation who are doubling down on their efforts to keep children and families healthy, fed and whole.

Read the report here and register for updates from the PIF campaign here.

Keep tabs on CDF-Texas’s work to protect immigrant communities here.