Update: The Public Charge Rule does not apply to testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases like COVID-19.
On March 14, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an alert encouraging all individuals, regardless of immigration status, with symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services. See more.
On January 27, 2020, the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration and lifted the last of the three nationwide preliminary injunctions that blocked the harmful expanded "public charge" rule from taking effect. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can now implement the rule. The rule will go into effect on February 24, 2020.
Our fight to stop this rule is not over. Our community will continue to fight back in the courts, in Congress and in the streets to stop this rule. So check back frequently as things may change.
In the meantime, here are important things immigrant families should know about the expanded “public charge” rule to protect themselves and their families.
What is “public charge”?
The “public charge” rule is a century old rule with a discriminatory history. Watch Rep. Lee explain the rule’s history here. The old rule would deny a person entry to the U.S. or from receiving a green card if they were deemed to need cash assistance.
What is Trump’s expanded “public charge” rule?
On August 14, 2019, the Trump Administration published its version of the “public charge” rule that would make it much harder for working class immigrants to receive a green card. The expanded rule would keep immigrants from getting a green card if they receive certain government services, like healthcare, nutrition or housing.
This rule is an attack on working families and their right to vital services. It is an attack on Black, brown and Asian immigrants-- essentially saying: if you’re not of European ancestry and wealthy, you’re not welcome here.
10 Things you should know about the “public charge” rule to protect yourself and your family:
- The expanded “public charge” rule goes into effect on February 24, 2020.
- The rule does NOT apply to everyone. The expanded “public charge” rule does NOT apply to:
- green card holders
- refugees and asylees
- VAWA self-petitioners
- Survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, or other serious crimes (U or T visa applicants/holders)
- Certain parolees and several other categories of non-citizens
- The rule applies only to applications submitted on or after February 24, 2020. Applications for Medicaid (except for emergency services, children under 21 years, pregnant women, and new mothers), SNAP, HUD public housing and housing benefits received before February 24, 2020 will not be considered in the public charge determination.
- Using public benefits will not automatically make you a “public charge.” There are many other criteria that are taken into consideration such as your age, health and income to name a few.
- Not all programs are included in the public charge test. Many health, housing, childcare and food programs like WIC, CHIP and school lunches, are not included in the public charge test.
- Benefits used by family members will not be counted against the person applying. U.S. citizen children and others who are eligible should continue to use the programs they need to stay healthy and thrive. Your name on your child’s application does not mean that you’ve applied for benefits yourself.
- Keep your family safe and healthy. Keeping your family safe, healthy and thriving is not only good for your family but our nation as a whole. We cannot allow the Trump administration’s fear tactics to further bully our communities into disenrolling children from the vital services they are entitled to use.
- Consult with a reputable legal services provider. Every person’s situation is different. If you are unsure about whether or not the rule applies to you or if you should continue to use public services, speak with a reputable legal services provider. Visit iAmerica.org/legalhelp
- The fight is not over. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the rule to go into effect while the other court cases play out. Remember, many Americans are on our side and know that this rule is wrong for America. We can still win. Join the fight to protect families. Text PROTECT FAMILIES to 802495.
Take action to protect families:
iAmericans and coalition partners submitted over 100,000 comments opposing Trump’s expanded “public charge” rule. Together, we helped to delay this rule from taking effect in October 2019 and we can do it again. Take action today!
- Call your members of Congress: 1-866-584-3962. Tell them to oppose the “public charge” rule and if he or she hasn’t already, cosponsor HR 3222 the “No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act of 2019” that would defund the implementation of the rule.
- Get ready to elect leaders who will stand up to Trump and fight for immigrant families. If you are eligible to vote, register to vote. If you’re already registered and have moved, changed your name or political party, update your registration. If you are a green card holder, take the first step in participating in America’s democracy by applying for U.S. citizenship today.
- Join the fight to protect families here or text PROTECT FAMILIES to 802495.
Fight fear with facts. Protect families by sharing important information about the “public charge” rule. Share on Twitter.
Find more information to protect families: ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org