After courts blocked public charge rule – what immigrants applying for green cards or visas need to know

After courts blocked public charge rule - what immigrants applying for green cards or visas need to know

Last month,  district courts blocked the Trump administration’s rule that attempted to deny green cards to immigrants who fail to meet tough income tests or use public programs.  This victory for immigrants means that the rule that was supposed to take effect on October 15 will be stopped while the court battles proceed.

It’s still important to understand how the rule might have affected those applying for green cards.  While the policy change expands the public programs the government considers in deciding some immigrant applications, it won’t affect many immigrants living here. The public programs are limited to Medicaid, nutrition assistance (SNAP), and public housing (Section 8).

Here are three steps to take to see how this policy change might affect you and your family if the courts eventually allow it to be implemented.

1 – Find out if you or your family members would be affected by the rule change.  It doesn’t apply to those applying for citizenship, humanitarian migrants such as refugees and asylees, and those applying to renew their DACA.

2 – If your family is affected by the new rule, learn more about how participation in public programs might affect you before disenrolling. Using public benefits will not automatically make you a public charge – immigration officials must look at your overall circumstances to decide whether you pass the test.  They weigh positive factors, like having a job or health insurance, against negative factors, like using certain programs, English proficiency, or having a health condition.  Remember that we all have a right to use certain programs, and they exist to make us healthier and our communities stronger.

3 – Speak out against these changes and advocate for inclusive policies in your community. Visit to learn more about how to fight back against this rule change, and find out whether your state or community is working on immigrant-inclusive policies. There is power in using your voice to make sure all our communities are healthy and thriving.

Questions about your immigration status or use of public benefits?  Consult a pro bono immigration attorney near you:

This advisory was sponsored by Protecting Immigrant Families, a national campaign to combat the Trump administration’s public charge rule.  For more information:

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