On August 12, the Trump administration published the final public charge rule set to take effect on October 15 that makes it harder for immigrants to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. Federal law allows immigration officials to deny green cards and certain visas to immigrants if authorities decide they would be a “public charge.” The final rule defines public charge as someone “who receives one or more public benefit… for more than 12 months in an aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month count as two months).” In addition, previously excluded government assistance programs will be used in public charge determinations, including:
- Medicaid (excludes children under 21 years and pregnant women)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (CalFresh in California)
- Cash assistance programs (TANF, SSI, state and local assistance programs)
- Section 8 housing assistance and other federal subsidized housing programs
The rule is facing numerous lawsuits, but, if implemented, it will put millions of children in immigrant communities nationwide at risk. The rule immediately affects a small number of immigrants, but is meant to instill fear among many immigrant families who depend on federally subsidized programs such as health care and food assistance. Parents now fear that receiving these benefits will make it impossible for their children to become permanent residents in the United States. To support children and families, the best thing school-based health providers can do is to provide accurate information to students and patients.
To learn more about public charge and how you can take action, visit our partners below. Check back for new resources as we follow developments on this rule:
- California Primary Care Association: resources for community health centers
- The Children’s Partnership: factsheets and toolkits
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center: legal information and resources
- Protecting Immigrant Families: public charge factsheet
Immigration Policy Updates
- AB 699 – Effective January 1, 2018, AB 699 requires that all local educational agencies in California implement additional protections to ensure that all students, regardless of immigration status or country of birth, have the opportunity to pursue their education without undue fear or risk. To learn more about AB 699, read this overview from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
- Guidelines from Attorney General on Immigration, April 2018 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued new guidance to help California’s public K-12 schools and other local educational agencies develop policies to protect the rights of undocumented students and their families. The guide is designed to help schools better understand protections that safeguard the privacy of undocumented students and their families, and to serve as a model for local school districts.
- Clean Dream Act – The National Immigration Law Center and UndocuBlack Network released a one-pager on what a clean Dream Act is and what it’d do for immigrant families if passed.
- Visit United We Dream website to get daily updates and learn more about how you can engage to get this act passed.