Public Charge

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a federal rule that threatens access to basic needs programs—like food, medical, and housing assistance—for millions of immigrant families in Illinois and nationwide. This violates our nation’s most basic values. The rule has been officially filed but has not taken effect. A public comment period is open until December 10, 2018.

What is the public charge test now?

To become a legal permanent resident (LPR) or “green card” holder, a person must show that they are unlikely to become a “public charge” in the future. A person can be considered a public charge if they are receiving cash assistance (including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and General Assistance) and/ or if they are institutionalized for long‐term care at government expense. The Trump Administration wants to drastically expand the list of programs included in public charge determination to those like Medicaid and SNAP.

Who does the public charge test apply to?

Immigrants seeking entry into the U.S. or seeking to become Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) (i.e., “green card” holders) mainly through family-based petitions and their family members, among others.

The public charge test does NOT apply to: LPRs applying for U.S. citizenship; refugees; asylees; survivors of trafficking (T-Visas); self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (U-Visas); people applying for or re-registering for Temporary Protected Status (TPS); and several other categories of noncitizens. These exceptions are written in the law; the proposed rules cannot change them.

For more information on Public Charge, please visit ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org.

Protecting Immigrant Families Illinois (PIF-IL) is a statewide coalition comprised of diverse member organizations, including directly impacted communities, safety net providers, and legal services, working to protect illinois immigrant families’ access to basic essential-needs programs.

How can you fight these proposed changes to the Public Charge test?

You can Take Action in a number of different ways.

Healthy Illinois in the News

The Healthy Illinois Campaign Celebrates the Historic Start of the HBIA Program

The Illinois Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults Program, for low-Income Immigrants ages 55-64, Regardless of Immigration Status, Commits to Continuing the Fight for Healthcare for ALL!
March 30, 2022

The Illinois Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults Program, for low-Income Immigrants ages 55-64, Regardless of Immigration Status, Commits to Continuing the Fight for Healthcare for ALL!

Illinois Takes First Critical Step

Towards Comprehensive Health Coverage for Immigrant Community
May 24, 2020

The​ Illinois General Assembly passed a FY 2021 budget that funds comprehensive health coverage for immigrant seniors made especially vulnerable by the COVID-19 crisis.

New Campaign Director

October 2, 2019

Jesse Hoyt has departed from the organization. Graciela Guzman has taken his role.

Public Charge Panel

October 2, 2019

Thank you to Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Access Living for organizing this extremely important Public Charge Panel at the Chicagoland Immigration and Disability Summit.

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