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Public Charge Rule Information

Monday, February 24, 2020 7:35 PM | Matthew Phillips (Administrator)

The Trump Administration's "public charge" rule goes into effect today.  For over a hundred years, public charge inadmissibility has been narrowly used to identify immigrants who are likely to depend on the government for long-term assistance as their main form of financial support.  U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services would be able to deny such an individual's application for permanent resident (or "green card") status. 

The new rule drastically expands this long-standing policy by adding specific standards for income, health, age, and English proficiency for new immigrants.  It greatly expands the forms of public assistance that are considered as part of the public charge determination.

DHBA opposes this new rule, as it fundamentally changes our country from one that welcomes individuals and families who come here to work hard and build a better life for themselves and their communities into one in which all that matters is how much money they have.  It also discourages parents from applying for necessary health and food benefits to which their U.S. citizen children are entitled, punishes potential immigrants for being too old or too young, and prioritizes wealth over community.

Below are helpful links and key points from the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Trump's new Public Charge rule takes effect today (2/24/2020), replacing rules that have been in effect since 1999.

  • The new Public Charge rule affects ONLY persons submitting a visa or green card application today or in the future.  Pending applications already in the pipeline are subject to the "old" rules.
  • Negative consideration of SNAP (food stamps), federal housing benefits, or Medicaid use by adults (pregnant women and kids are NOT counted) will ONLY look at use of those benefits from today forward.  No looking back.
  • Use of benefits by a family member has NO impact on the green card or visa applicant.  ONLY use of the benefits above by the applicant herself is considered.
  • As of today, these policies are the same regardless of whether someone applies from outside the U.S. at a U.S. consulate, or inside the U.S. (there had been a period in which they were inconsistent).

CPPP has posted new, updated resources, targeted to support workers who help Texans apply for benefits and health insurance.  More will be continued to be posted on Updates for Texas on the "Public Charge" Rule.

The national Protecting Immigrant Families campaign has updated these materials to share with consumers:

Public Charge: Does this apply to me?
Updated February 14, 2020*
(See how 'public charge' will impact you based on your immigration status, and what you should do – PIF)

Should I Keep My Kids Enrolled in Health & Nutrition Programs? 
Updated February 14, 2020*
(Use this guide to help answer commonly asked questions about how to make good decisions for your family and their health – PIF)

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Public Charge Messages for Community Members
Updated February 14, 2020*
(Top messages to share with immigrant communities on the recent changes to public charge – PIF)

You Have Rights – Protect Your Health 
Updated October 24, 2019*
(An overview for mixed-status families when it comes to going to the doctor or enrolling in health insurance – PIF).

The links above are also available in Spanish, see https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/.

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