Children’s Defense Fund-Texas Statement on Public Charge Rule

Resources for immigrant and mixed-status families to get informed and know their rights

AUSTIN — The Children’s Defense Fund-Texas is outraged at the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement of a semi-final rule that will impose harsh new evaluation standards on applicants for Legal Permanent Residency (a “green card”). These new standards will penalize legal immigrants for using benefit programs for which they qualify under state and federal law. Worse, even if applicants were to avoid these public programs altogether, the wealth test in the new regulations will discriminate against lower-income legal immigrants, particularly those with children.

The regulation purportedly targets only legal immigrants applying for permanent residency. But the new rule, when paired with the administration’s broader efforts to target, intimidate, and criminalize immigrants, has spread fear throughout immigrant communities. As a result, families have already withdrawn children who are American citizens from much-needed health, nutrition, and housing assistance. Children are losing their health insurance, their access to healthy food, and their homes. This regulation is  purposefully intimidating, especially when considered in concert with other regulations targeting immigrants coming from the Department of Justice, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This regulation is not designed to effectively address any known policy issue or problem. It targets the very immigrants most likely to work hard and contribute to our country for years to come. It rests on questionable legal grounds, and it is in deep conflict with decades of laws passed by both Republican- and Democratic-controlled Congresses. This is a stunning, targeted attack on immigrants, on low-income communities, and on communities of color. CDF-Texas condemns in the strongest possible terms the Trump Administration’s attack on those who live, work, and strive for the American dream within our borders.


CDF-Texas wishes to let immigrant and mixed-status families know that you are not alone. We, and countless other organizations like ours, are fighting for your right to live free from fear and intimidation, and to access the public benefits you and your families are eligible for without jeopardizing your path to citizenship.

We encourage immigrant communities to get informed and know your rights. It is important to know that the Public Charge rule that was posted today will not go into effect until October 15, 2019. The rule will not penalize you for enrolling your U.S. citizen and green-card holding children in programs like CHIP, Medicaid, SNAP, and others. 

Using public benefits for your children not only helps ensure health, safety, and security for your family, it is also one of the best ways to lift your family’s economic status – a factor that is heavily considered in the new application process for legal permanent residency. Because the process has just been changed significantly, we encourage anyone currently applying for their green card to connect with immigrant legal services.

Click here to find an immigration lawyer in your area

Click here for updated information in a variety of languages

Click here to stay connected with the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign