[Update 3/11/2021: The Trump Administration’s 2019 public charge rule is permanently blocked, nationwide. DHS/USCIS will follow the policy in the 1999 Interim Field Guidance. Under this policy, it is safe for immigrants and their families to access health, nutrition, and housing programs for which they are eligible.]
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2018. Since then, the Trump Administration has announced its finalized “public charge” rule. Please see Supporting Immigrant Families in the Age of Fear and Loathing for updated information on the rule.
The Public Charge Notice of the Proposed Rule Making has been published in the Federal Register and the public comment period is finally open for submissions. Public comments will be accepted through December 10, 2018.
What should advocates do to fight the proposed public charge rule?
The Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future campaign, a project of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), is working with advocates across the country to fight back.
We invite you to express your concern in individual or organizational public comments. Public comments are important as they must be reviewed, and they help build a record against this shameful action. Regulations are not considered specific legislation. Submitting comments on a proposed rule making that would impact your work is a permissible advocacy activity your organization could engage in. If your organization has questions, check with your funder or consult the Council on Foundations’s Rules of Advocacy and Lobbying, or Bolder Advocacy‘s free technical assistance. You can also send comments as an individual.How should public comments be submitted?
Use this public comment form. What should be included in public comments?
- It is better if you speak in your own voice rather than submit a pre-populated template comment. If comments are the same, multiple comments will be counted as one, which is less helpful.
- Explain the impact that this proposed public charge rule would have on you, your loved ones, or the community you serve.
- Don’t propose changes to the proposed rule. Simply oppose the ENTIRE proposed new rule.
- If you include cite studies or data, be sure to attach those documents to your comment.
For more detailed guidelines for submitting public comments, please follow this Protecting Immigrant Families Comment Guidelines document.
What information is most helpful for people who are concerned about public charge?
The most important thing for people to know is that nothing has changed. And if anything does change, anyone affected by the rule change will have 60 days after the rules are finalized (after this initial 60-day comment period) to disenroll from any programs that would affect their immigration status.
BOTTOM LINE: NO ONE SHOULD DROP THEIR BENEFITS OR DECIDE AGAINST ENROLLING IN BENEFITS BECAUSE OF THIS PROPOSED RULE CHANGE. They should use all of the benefits they are entitled to until the time comes when it may affect their immigration status and they might have to decide whether or not they should keep or drop certain benefits.
What should immigrant families do if they want to take action against this rule change?
Immigrant families who are interested in submitting their own story about how this public charge change could affect them should visit The National Immigration Law Center’s story link. There is an option to remain anonymous.
What are other public health and community-building organizations saying about the “public charge” proposal?
- Proposed Change to “Public Charge” Policy Hurts Kids, Say Leading California Early Childhood Advocates (First 5 LA, 9-24-18)
- Estimated Impacts of the Proposed Public Charge Rule on Immigrants and Medicaid (Kaiser Family Foundation, 10-11-18)
- Proposed Changes to “Public Charge” Policies for Immigrants: Implications for Health Coverage (Kaiser Family Foundation, 9-24-18)
- Potential Effects of Public Charge Changes on Health Coverage for Citizen Children (Kaiser Family Foundation, 5-18-18)
- CEO Statement on Public Charge Announcement (L.A. Care, 10-10-18)
- Statement by FamiliesUSA
- Statement by the Center for Study of Social Policy
- American Academy of Pediatrics Opposes Dangerous Public Charge Proposal (AAP, 9-23-18)
- Policy: Public Charge (California WIC Association, 10-9-18)