News & Updates
Resources on the New Public Charge Rule
Customized handouts on Public Charge with SLO County referral information:
More handouts about Public Charge, for background and to give to families:
What is Public Charge and How Does it Affect Immigrant Families?
What is public charge?
The Trump Administration is seeking to change immigration policy through new rules for immigrants who apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR, or "green card"). The new rules will replace family immigration policies in favor of policies that favor richer and better educated immigrants. The rules will also greatly expand the programs whose use could lead to a public charge determination. This could lead to the denial of legal permanent residence for many immigrants. It will likely also have the effect of discouraging many immigrants from using any government services, regardless of their status.
"Public charge" is a ground of inadmissibility that could bar a person's admission to the U.S. on a visa or deny their adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. During the LPR application process, the government looks at the "totality of circumstances," including whether the applicant has used cash aid (TANF, SSI, General Assistance) or government-funded long term care and other factors. If a person is determined to be likely to become a public charge - someone who will be dependent on the government for basic needs - then they are denied.
What are the changes?
The new federal regulations will expand the programs whose use can lead to a public charge determination to include programs such as Medi-Cal (except emergency, pregnancy-only, and state-only services), CalFresh (Food Stamps), and Section 8 housing vouchers. Currently only the receipt of cash benefits such as CalWorks, and long term care are included.
The rules also add factors for the "totality of circumstances" balancing test that will make it harder for low and moderate income people to pass.
For individual cases, consult an immigration attorney or a BIA-accredited representative:
Catholic Charities: https://catholiccharitiescentralcoast.org
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