Public Charge Update

On January 27, 2020 the U. S. Supreme Court lifted the temporary stay on the public charge rule, allowing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to begin using the new public charge rule while processing green card and visa applications.   DHS announced it will begin implementing the rule on February 24, 2020 (except in Illinois, which is the only state in the county where there is still a temporary stay in place).  This means the new public charge rule will be applied to green card and vias applications submitted on or after February 24, 2020. 

Here are some main points to keep in mind:

  1. Most people who are eligible for public benefits can continue to receive public benefits without any risk to their immigration status.  Lots of people are exempt from public charge entirely.  Even those who are potentially subject to public charge can safely receive almost all the benefits. 
  2. Immigrants with Medicaid coverage should seek health care treatment without fear of being reported.  Healthcare providers should not ask for immigration information or require you to show a photo ID to be treated.  Additionally, you can receive health care without insurance by going to the emergency room, community health centers, and clinics.
  3. People who are subject to the public charge test should talk with an immigration advocate.  Even after the new rule is implemented on February 24, immigration advocates may be able to help people who are subject to the public charge test get the green cards or visas they are eligible to receive. For free or low-cost options, visit

4.  The fight continues!  The Supreme Court ruling is only temporary.  There has been no              decision about the legality of the rule itself.  The lawsuits challenging the rule continue. 

5.  You can help!  The Protecting Immigrant Families campaign has many great resources and       a public charge harm reporting form for people to use to report stories of harm.