February 24, 2020 The new Public Charge ruling will take effect Monday, February 24, 2020.
Only what happens in the future Immigration officials are concerned only with what could happen in the future. They are not concerned with anything you did before February 24, 2020. For example, the benefits you used before February 24, 2020, won’t matter.
What is Public Charge? Public charge is part of immigration law. The government can use public charge rules when they decide to deny a person legal status.
Who is a public charge? A person is considered a public charge if the government expects that he or she will become mostly dependent on the government for living expenses.
Immigrants from all countries Immigrants from all countries are affected by Public Charge rules.
Most immigrants will not be affected. These people will not be affected:
• People with green cards who are applying to become U.S. citizens
• Lawful permanent residents (those with green cards and US citizens)
• Survivors of trafficking, domestic violence and other serious crimes
• Other “humanitarian immigrants”
Public programs When immigration officials decide whether a person is a public charge, they will consider the public programs they expect the person will need.
These public programs will not be considered in a public charge test
• Free school lunch program
• Food banks
• Child care assistance
• State- and locally-funded healthcare
• Many more programs
These public programs will continue to be considered
• Institutionalization for long-term care paid for by the government
These public programs will be considered as of February 24. They were never considered in the past.
• SNAP (Food Stamps)
• Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California)
• Housing assistance, including Section 8
All your circumstances Immigration officials must look at all your circumstances before deciding that you will probably become a public charge. Immigration officials will look at your:
• Savings or investments
• Family you must support
• Family who will support you
Legal services for immigrants Interested in locating legal services for immigrants? Click here, then scroll down to find organizations in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Public Charge and WIC Using WIC will not be a problem. Read more here!
Even if you use public programs Even if you use public programs, it’s possible that officials will not decide you are a public charge. For example, if you are young, healthy, and are going to school, using public programs may not matter.
Read more about the Public Charge ruling
Public Charge facts from the National WIC Association
Public Charge—Does this apply to me?
Should I keep my kids enrolled in health and nutrition programs?