AGPA Statement in Response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public charge amendments rule


The AGPA Statement appears below.


Individuals are also encouraged to respond.  Information on how to do so can be found here:

Link and Template for Individual Responses to Public Charge Amendments


The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA), in concert with the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American Psychiatric Association, expresses strong opposition to the public charge amendments rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 


The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) represents over 3,000 mental health professional members including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, pastoral counselors, occupational therapists and creative arts therapists. Members of AGPA provide treatment and consultation to children and adults, hospitals, treatment centers, schools, corporate settings and communities, nationally and internationally.  AGPA is committed to supporting the dignity and psychological safety of every individual without discrimination regarding race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sex, age, or disability.


Since the landmark passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, the United States has taken great strides in reducing discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.  Nearly 30 years ago, George Herbert Walker Bush championed this legislation, recognizing that “every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.”  He also recognized how the United States could be a model for the world:  “This historic act is the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities -- the first. Its passage has made the United States the international leader on this human rights issue” (Remarks of President George Bush at the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act).

As group psychotherapists we understand the importance, power and responsibilities of leadership. The world looks to the United States to model and embody its values, as exemplified by the ADA. With the passage of the public charge amendments rule, the United States would abdicate this leadership role by discriminating against immigrants with disabilities, impeding their efforts to live permanently in the United States.  Immigrants with disabilities undertaking a lawful process to gain permanent residence would be effectively placing their applications at risk by accessing the supportive public services they need to survive and thrive.  This harms not only the individual and their families, but the communities that benefit from their contributions.


The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) urges DHS to cease in its support of the public charge regulation, and to work with leading professional health associations to embrace the diversity of our great nation and to provide immigrants with access to high quality health care and public services.


On Behalf of the American Group Psychotherapy Association

Eleanor F. Counselman, Ed.D., CGP, LFAGPA, President

Marsha S. Block, CAE, CFRE, Chief Executive Officer


Health and Medical Issues SIG Tri-Chairs:

Ann Steiner, Ph.D., MFT, CGP, FAGPA

Wendy Freedman, Ph.D., CGP

Leslie Klein, Ph.D.

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