Public Charge is a term used by immigration officials to refer to people who rely on government assistance to primarily support their cost of day-to-day living. Currently, officials look at a variety of factors in deciding whether or not a person is likely to become a public charge; the only public benefits considered currently are cash assistance programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, long-term nursing home care paid for by the government, etc.).

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(NPRM) was posted on October 10th, 2018. The comment period is open until December 10th, 2018. The proposed regulation will weigh certain factors more heavily and will add additional benefits to the list such as: non-emergency Medi-Cal, Medicare Part D Low-income Subsidy, CalFresh, and Section 8 housing vouchers. Additional information on the proposed regulation can be found in the links below.

It is important for people to know that as of now, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. IF anything doeschange, anyone affected by the rule change will have 60 days after the rules are finalized (after this initial comment period) to disenroll from any programs that would impact their immigration status. No one should drop their benefits or choose against enrolling in benefits because of the proposed rule change. 

Advocates should fight the proposed public charge rule because this is a cruel attack on immigrant communities. If implemented, the rule would dismantle family-based immigration and undo longstanding policies. The proposed rule threatens to deny immigrant families the opportunity to obtain a green card or enter the U.S. if they participate in benefit programs offered by the government, such as critical health care and food support. The proposed rule targets immigrant community members who are low-income, have limited English proficiency, or have disabilities. There will be a devastating impact on millions of our community members.

Comments can be submitted until December 10th, 2018 via an online portal. Public comments are important because until all of the comments are reviewed, the proposed rule cannot be finalized.

CHC will continue to provide updates on public charge as well as opportunities for advocacy. Our resource sheet offers templates, fact sheets, webinar opportunities, and more information from our partners. The Public Charge Resource Sheet will be regularly updated.