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Consequences of the Public Charge Rule

The public charge rule discouraging lawful immigrants from accessing essential public benefit programs has been reversed, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

In August 2019, the Trump administration expanded the definition of a public charge rule to prevent legal immigrants applying for admission to the country or for lawful permanent residency, from using certain public benefit programs.

Public charge rule changes threaten access to medicaid, affordable housing, and food assistance programs.

The Biden administration reversed the rule change in March of 2021 after several legal challenges. However, who the rule applied to created significant confusion during the two-years it was in effect. This led to a significant “chilling effect,” where many immigrants did not access important benefit programs for fear of risking their permanent residency status.

New Public Charge Report

A new report published by the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), demonstrates the harm that the public change rule had on NYC’s immigrant communities.

These were some of the findings:

These findings are important because even though the changes to the public charge rule have been reversed, there is still a great deal of confusion among immigrant communities. Which has led them to delay or forgo access to lifesaving resources.

The report suggests a variety of policy interventions primarily focused on education and accessibility in order to reverse the effects of the public charge rule in immigrant communities. You can find the report here

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