Learn the facts about “public charge”

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, which would affect how immigration officials determine who was or could be considered a public charge. The “public charge” test is used to determine whether a person may receive a visa to enter the U.S. or adjust their status to a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Immigration officials consider a person’s income, employment, and other factors, as well as whether they have used certain federal benefits. Many immigration advocates, including HIRC, have expressed grave concern over the proposed rule and have urged DHS to stop its implementation.

Though federal courts in multiple states have blocked the proposed rule, which was supposed to go into effect on October 15, 2019, many questions remain for individuals and families across the country. This is a complex issue and it is easy to get confused about who could be affected by any changes that may occur in the future. Here are a few common misconceptions:

  • The proposed rule does NOT apply to asylees, VAWA, SIJ, and T and U visa holders
  • The proposed rule does NOT apply to LPRs who are applying for citizenship

To learn more about public charge, you can visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website, which has a series of “Know Your Rights” documents that cover many topics surrounding public charge. Health Care For All also has a collection of resources about the proposed rule. 

Still have questions about public charge? HIRC offers “Know Your Rights” presentations on the public charge rule and other immigration-related issues. If you or your organization is interested in organizing an event with our attorneys, email hirc@law.harvard.edu.