Public Charge Backgrounder | CLINIC

Public Charge Backgrounder

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Don’t let a change to immigration application standards hurt millions of families


About the proposed rule

The administration is expected to issue a proposed rule making it much more difficult for immigrants to apply for legal immigration status in the United States. The proposed rule drastically expands the definition of what it means to be a public charge, which could prevent an immigrant from maintaining or obtaining legal immigration status.

Previously, the government banned immigrants on public charge grounds if it found they would likely depend on public cash assistance or need long term medical care in an institution at the government’s expense. Under the proposed new rule, the definition is so expanded that it could deny immigrants legal status if any of their dependents, including U.S. citizen children, have used benefits established to help the entire community.


Why it matters

This proposed rule will hurt and separate families. As people of faith, we are called to stand with families, for the common good of all and to defend those made vulnerable by unfair policies.

This planned expansion of public charge forces parents to choose between needed public assistance to keep their children fed and healthy or leaving their family vulnerable to separation. It means pregnant women have to pick between care for their babies or applying for an immigration status that will improve their families' lives permanently.


What you can do

When the proposed rule is published, there will be a period, likely 60 days, when the public can submit written comments to the federal government opposing the rule. The number of comments submitted during this period will impact whether the proposed rule will be finalized as-is, or if it will be revised. This is our best chance to make a difference. When the proposed rule is published, CLINIC will provide instructions on how to submit a comment. Learn more at