Child Welfare

Five Things Immigrants Need to Know about Public Charge

February 10, 2020 | Texas

If you are looking for clear and accurate information about the new public charge ruling, we’d like to direct you to the following resources, both in English and in Spanish. Our friends at the North Carolina Justice Center recently posted a helpful informational video on what immigrants should know about the public charge rule. Please watch and share the videos below.


In English:


In Spanish:


Here are 5 important things immigrants need to know about the public charge rule: 

  1. When applying for Legal Permanent Resident Status (a green card), immigration officials evaluate individuals to see if they are likely to be a public charge, or a person who might end up depending on the government. Under the new changes, officials will consider many other factors to see if a person might depend on the government. New factors include income, age, work history, health, skills; the use of public benefits is only one of those factors.
  2. Under the public charge rule, immigration officials will only consider negatively the public benefits that you have used for yourself under your own name. They will NOT consider any benefits under the names of your kids, spouse, grandkids, or your financial sponsor. If your family members are using benefits for themselves, they should continue to use them. Their use of public benefits will NOT affect your immigration application. 
  3. There are many categories of immigrants to whom this rule does not apply to. It will NOT affect green card holders applying for U.S citizenship, DACA applicants, refugees, asylees, applicants for U-visas, or victims of trafficking or domestic violence.
  4. There are many benefits programs that are not included in this rule at all. Immigrants enrolled in the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), WIC (women, infants, and children’s nutrition programs), free school lunch programs, emergency Medicaid, Medicaid for children and pregnant women, and FEMA or other disaster relief benefits should not drop these benefits. Your enrollment in them will NOT hurt your immigration application. 
  5. Benefit programs are often essential to providing healthcare and nutritious meals to ourselves and our families. If you want to obtain a green card in the future, your family members and children who are already eligible for benefits CAN continue using those programs because it will NOT affect your immigration application.


If you are unsure about whether you or your family should continue to receive benefits, or if you are unsure if the rule applies to you, please talk to an immigration attorney, an expert on public benefits, or consult more resources such as