Changing Public Charge Immigration Rules: The Potential Impact on Children Who Need Care
October 23, 2018
Leah Zallman, Director of Research, Institute for Community Health
Karen Finnegan, Epidemiologist, Institute for Community Health
On October 10, the Trump administration published a proposed rule change (PDF) that would increase the chance of an immigrant being determined to be a public charge and therefore being denied legal permanent residency or entry to the US. The change would instruct officials to take a broadened array of public benefits — including health and nutrition programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — into consideration, along with other factors, when making public charge determinations.
This change, if passed, is expected to cause large numbers of immigrant parents to disenroll themselves and their children from safety-net programs, in large part due to fear and confusion over the rule even among immigrant families to whom the rule does not apply. There have been reports that this is already occurring.