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Changes to public charge

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 On Oct. 10, 2018,USCIS published its proposed rule, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” The public comment period is now closed. It was open for 60 days from Oct. 10, 2018, to Dec. 10, 2018.

Read our press releases from Sep. 24 when the text of the proposed rule was posted on the DHS website, and from Dec. 11 after CLINIC had submitted its comment on the proposed rule.


The administration published a proposed rule that would make it much more difficult for immigrants to apply for legal immigration status in the United States. The proposed rule would drastically expand the definition of what it means to be a public charge, which could prevent an immigrant from maintaining or obtaining legal immigration status. The rule was open to public comment from Oct. 10, 2018, to Dec. 10, 2018.

Current policy regarding public charge will remain unchanged until the public comments are collected and reviewed and a final rule published. That, at a minimum, will take several months from initial publication.

Currently, the government prohibits immigrants on public charge grounds if there is a finding that they would likely depend on public cash assistance or need long term medical care at the government’s expense. Under the proposed rule, the list of public benefits that count against an immigrant would greatly expand. The benefits that the administration proposes be added to the public charge list are benefits that support mixed-immigration status families and protect public health, ensuring that children can thrive.  

CLINIC and many of our affiliates submitted comments that were among the more than 210,000 submissions that the Department of Homeland Security must now review before taking final action on the proposed rule. We will update this page with any updates about the progress of the rule.

Use this website to better understand the proposed changes and take action to stop them from happening.

Please note that the proposed public charge rule has been issued by USCIS, and is a separate matter from the recent change in DOS Public Charge guidance in the Foreign Affairs Manual, which impacts intending immigrants from abroad. For more information on the DOS FAM Public Charge changes, see our analysis and webinar.


Outreach to the Administration

CLINIC is among the more than 210,000 organizations and individuals that submitted comments in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s Notice of Public Rule Making (NPRM) entitled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” CLINIC opposes the NPRM, which would drastically change the definition and scope of the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

Updated date: 12/11/2018


Inform CLINIC When You Have Submitted a Comment on Public Charge!

Follow these link to report your individual public charge comment or multiple comments you collected by organizing an event!


Reporting form for individuals/organizational comments

Reporting form for public comment organizers


Trainings and Webinars

Join us in opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule on public charge! It will drastically alter the definition of what it means for immigrants to “likely become a public charge,” which could prevent many hard-working people from obtaining lawful permanent resident, or “green card,” status.

Updated date: 11/20/2018

In this webinar, CLINIC presenters will review what the proposed changes are and what steps everyone can take once these proposed changes are published in the Federal Register.

Updated date: 09/27/2018


Week of Action

From Monday, Nov. 12 to Friday, Nov. 16, join us in taking daily action to stand for our American and interfaith values and most importantly, those that need our voices now.

Updated date: 11/12/2018


Advocacy Tools

Review these instructions to see a visual how-to guide for submitting a public comment on

Updated date: 04/10/2019

Share this flyer to help people understand how the proposed changes to public charge will hurt immigrants and what steps they can take to make a difference.

Updated date: 01/07/2019

This guide provides an overview of the federal rulemaking process and information about how you can participate. Engaging in administrative advocacy ensures that we are using all avenues to fight for immigrants and will more effectively amplify our collective voice.

Updated date: 12/03/2018

This comprehensive interfaith toolkit contains information on drafting and submitting public comments, sample social media, graphics, flyers, tools for organizing public comment events and much more. This toolkit is a joint product of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.

Updated date: 10/24/2018


Legal Analysis

Both the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) took major steps in 2018 to alter the assessment of the public charge ground of inadmissibility.  This FAQ addresses common issues of concern for intending immigrants regarding recent changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and proposed changes to the public charge regulations.

Updated date: 04/02/2019

The Department of State (DOS) implemented new guidance on assessing public charge inadmissibility last year and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published proposed regulations on the same issue. These FAQs describe the new developments and the circumstances in which they may impact on your lawful permanent resident (LPR) clients.

Updated date: 03/15/2019

On Saturday, DHS posted on its website the text of its much-anticipated proposed rule re-defining public charge.

Updated date: 09/26/2018

A leaked executive order has many wondering if immigrants can take advantage of public benefits, and if doing so will lead to the public charge grounds of inadmissibility and deportability. This history of public charge, and analysis of how it is used today, can help attorneys and practitioners understand the issue and give proper advice to their clients.

Updated date: 08/04/2018

The administration is expected to publish a proposed regulation soon that would radically alter the way USCIS officers screen applicants for lawful permanent residence for inadmissibility due to public charge. Rather than focusing on the petitioning sponsor’s income as reported on the affidavit of support, the agency would turn its attention to the adjustment of status applicant and any dependent family members.

Updated date: 04/19/2018


Model Comments

Use this toolkit to learn more about the public comment process and to organize your own public comment event! It’s easy to do and you can make a difference.

Updated date: 12/03/2018

CLINIC has developed a template to help you draft a public comment in response to the administration’s proposed “public charge” rule that would severely hamper immigrants’ ability to care for their families and secure legal immigration status.

Updated date: 11/13/2018