Under current public charge policy, immigrants who are determined “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence” can be denied entry into the U.S. or lawful permanent residency status. In making this determination, the only benefits considered are cash assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and comparable state and local programs, and government-funded institutional long-term care (including through Medicaid). The proposed rule would dramatically expand the public charge definition to include immigrants who receive one or more public benefits. This would include even modest use of vital programs like Medicaid, housing assistance, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps), and assistance for seniors who have amassed the work history needed to qualify for Medicare and need help paying for prescription drugs.
Comments in Response to Proposed Rulemaking: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds