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“Public charge” is a termed used by USCIS officials to describe someone who they believe will become dependent on the government for a living.

When someone applies to enter the United States or when someone who already lives in the United States applies to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) they undergo a public charge assessment by a USCIS officials.

If the USCIS official determines that person is a “public charge” their application is denied.


If the proposed changes to public charge go through, the impact to families will be devastating!

The proposed rules aim to discourage immigrants from seeking and using benefit programs. They add heavily weighted negative factors to count against immigrants during the public charge determination. The rules expands the list of programs that can be counted as factors in the public charge determination to include non-cash benefit programs like Medi-Cal, Cal-Fresh and housing assistance programs.

Click here to view the proposed changes

Click here to view the Public Charge 101 handout.