Overview taken from a 10/13/18 email from the Center for Reproductive Rights
What is Public Charge?
“Public charge” is a longstanding test under federal immigration law designed to identify people who may depend on the government as their main source of support. If the government determines that a person is likely to become a “public charge,” it may deny a person entry to the U.S. or permanent residence (or “green card” status).
What is the Trump Administration doing?
On October 10, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed a change that would broadly expand what forms of public assistance make someone a “public charge.” In short, it would force immigrant women and children to make an impossible decision between meeting basic needs, including health care, and keeping their families together in this country. The impact would be particularly harsh on pregnant and postpartum women and children who may decline to enroll in Medicaid and other services, resulting in poorer maternal and child health, education, and financial outcomes.
How Public Charge could change
If the rule is finalized in its proposed form, this would mark a significant and harmful departure from the current policy. For over a hundred years, the government has recognized that basic and necessary services, such as health care and housing help families thrive and remain productive. And decades ago, the government clarified that immigrant families can seek health and nutrition benefits without fearing that doing so will harm their immigration case.
Rejecting this long-standing approach to public charge, the proposed rule targets the following key programs essential to immigrant women and children’s well-being:
What can you do?
Tell the Trump administration that we will not stand by while it attempts to punish parents and their children for feeding themselves or going to the doctor. Because this is just a proposed rule at this point, the Trump administration must open the proposal up for comments by the public, and review and consider every comment that is submitted. By December 10th, 2018, submit an official comment with the government telling them you object to the rule change and stand with immigrant families.
Cecely Castillo, Policy Director