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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Mayor Bill Peduto held a news conference on Wednesday to oppose the Trump administration’s proposal that could affect immigrants.

The Trump administration is making a proposal to expand a statutory provision regarding immigrants.

It’s called “Public Charge.”

It denies immigrants a green card on the grounds that they would become a public charge, by being dependent on government assistance, including Medicaid and supplemental security income, or SSI.

bill peduto Mayor Peduto Hits Back At Trump Administration Over Proposal To Expand Public Charge

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“What we’re talking about right now is nothing more than hatred, and it’s hatred of those who look different, pray different or come from a different part of the world,” Peduto said.

Peduto joined local immigration advocates to oppose the proposal.

If approved, the Trump administration would expand the more than 150-year-old provision, to deny visas and green cards to those people likely to be a public charge.

“This is not a political message, this is not a political issue. It is a human rights issue and we must keep it in the context of our teachings that all human life has dignity,” Rev. Denise Welch, president of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network said.

Groups, including Pittsburgh’s Casa San Jose, which work directly with local immigrants, are holding a public comment party for people to formally express their opinions on the issue.

“What this really is, is a way to scare our communities, and that’s exactly what happening, so a lot of people in the community that qualify public benefits, that can get benefits for medical assistance for their children are not going to be applying for these services, because this is very confusing,” Casa San Jose Executive Director Monica Ruiz said.

The proposal from the Trump administration would bypass approval by Congress and use a regulatory process. No final decision has been made.

Lisa Washington