Proposed Changes to Public Charge Rules

Proposed Changes to Public Charge Rules

What is Public Charge?


“Public charge” is a term used in immigration law to refer to a person who is likely to become dependent on the government for financial and material support. A person who the government determines is likely to become a “public charge” may be denied admission to the U.S. or Lawful Permanent Resident status. The proposed changes may cause immigrant families to forego needed health care or go hungry, among other harms, in an effort to keep their families together.


On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially published the "public charge" regulatory proposal that would significantly expand the list of public benefits that could pose barriers to immigrants' ability to obtain permanent residence via family or employment channels and prevent many from switching between non-immigrant statuses. These proposed regulations must go through a 60-day public comment period before being finalized by the administration (for this proposal, the comment period ends on December 10th, 2018). Once finalized, we expect that implementation may be delayed due to lawsuits challenging the new rule.


This issue most often arises for people applying for admission through a family petition, and does not apply to refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juveniles, U and T visa beneficiaries, and those who are self-petitioning through the Violence Against Women Act, among other groups.


In Massachusetts, the MIRA Coalition, Mass Law Reform Institute and Health Care For All are leading the efforts in this state.The Massachusetts Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign (PIF-MA: MIRA, HLA, MLRI) released a statement opposing public charge.


Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign - Join the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign and become more involved in fighting against changes to public charge.

More Resources on Public Charge

Press on Public Charge