Category: Public Charge

Public Charge: Latest Update

A letter from Nick Gulotta, Director of Outreach and Organizing, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs:

Dear Community Leader,

I am writing to share an important update on the Trump administration’s public charge rule. As you may have heard, yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the public charge rule to go into effect, while litigation over the rule continues. This means the public charge rule is in effect, for now, in New York and most places nationwide.

It is important to know:

·         The “public charge” test does not apply to everyone.

·         There is no “public charge” test for green card holders who apply for citizenship.

·         Free legal help is available. Call ActionNYC at 1-800-354-0365 and say “public charge.”

·         The public charge rule does not change eligibility requirements for public benefits.

·         The City's litigation against the "public charge" rule is not over.

What you can do: Attached is an updated flyer in English and Spanish to share with anyone who can use it. You can also post PSAs on social media and in newsletters from MOIA’s social media tool kit, and visit for updates. Translations will be posted on our website as soon as they become available.

Statement from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affair’s Commissioner Bitta Mostofi:
“I am deeply troubled that the court has allowed this dangerous Public Charge Rule to go into effect, for now, placing the well-being of millions of families, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities at risk.  The City will do everything in its power to connect people to the resources they need and to help dispel the confusion the Rule has created.  It’s important to know that eligibility for public benefits has not changed and many immigrants are not affected by public charge. It is also important to know that the case is still being fought in court.  Don’t stop using public benefits unnecessarily.  If you are worried or have questions about immigration and public benefits for you or your loved ones, you can call the free, confidential ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365, or call 311 and say ‘Public Charge’ to access timely and trusted information and connections to legal help. The City is here to help you make a decision that is best for you and your family.”

Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio:
“Immigrant New Yorkers are our neighbors, our friends, and our fellow parents. We cannot stand by while they are treated as less than human – expected to weigh putting food on the table against the need for a Green Card. The Trump Administration wants to scare us into silence, but this is New York City. We are still in court and we will not stop fighting for the rights of immigrants to feed their families.”

In community and solidarity,


More information can be found in this PDF, in ENGLISH and SPANISH.




Don’t Panic! Public Charge Rule Changes

UPDATE – 11 October 2019: A Judge in New York has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which stops the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” regulation from going into effect. This is a victory for immigrant families. The legal fight will continue, but for now, the rules in the United States have not changed.

18 September 2019: Yesterday afternoon, the New York Immigration Coalition held their Queens Town Hall on Public Charge. Changes to the Public Charge Rule are set to go into effect on October 15, 2019, though this may be delayed due to litigation. Fear and confusion have led many people, some of whom wouldn’t have been affected by these changes, to drop services and benefits they desperately need.

The Public Charge Rule is a test to determine if someone will become dependent on the government. It is assessed when someone applies for a green card or certain types of visas. The concept is not new; it has existed for over 100 years. However, since 1999, only two types of benefits were considered in the test—cash assistance (like TANF or SSI) and institutionalized long-term healthcare (like a nursing home).

When the changes go into effect in October, other criteria will also be considered, including SNAP (food stamps), subsidized housing assistance (Section 8 and public housing), and non-emergency Medicaid (but NOT healthcare services, the Essential Plan, Emergency Medicaid, or Medicaid for pregnant women and children). Immigrants who use these benefits could be considered a “public charge” and see their applications for green cards or visas denied.

Don’t panic. First, determine if you are affected by these changes. Many people aren’t. For example, if you are already a U.S. citizen, or you are a legal permanent resident (green card holder), or you are applying for U.S. citizenship, this rule change does not affect you. Do not withdraw from any services or benefits that you currently receive.

Similarly, if you are a refugee, asylee, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ), T & U Visa holder, victim of domestic violence (VAWA), or have another humanitarian status, you are also exempt from the rule change.

The rule change affects only people who are applying for a green card or visas that are not exempt as listed above. Even if you may be affected, remember that public charge determinations are based on many different circumstances, including whether a person’s income, resources, age, family situation and health would lead to dependence on government assistance in the future. Being enrolled in benefits does not by itself make someone a public charge. If you are concerned about your situation, consult an immigration or benefits expert before disenrolling from any programs.

New Yorkers who have questions about the new rule can contact the Office for New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636 to receive more information and be connected to resources.

For further information, download the NYIC Public Charge flyer, available in several languages.

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs also has a page on the Public Charge Rule.



Update on Public Charge Rule

A letter from Nick Gulotta, Director of Outreach and Organizing, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs:

Dear Community Partner,

As you know, the Trump administration has released the “Public Charge” rule change. This rule change has not gone into effect.

As Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bitta Mostofi of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs said in a statement, this rule is another attempt to instill fear and concern among countless working immigrant families. But as we know, New Yorkers are fighters and the City will do everything in our power to ensure people have the resources they need at this critical time. The City of New York will be bringing legal action and will have more to share in the coming days.

Update you should know about the public charge rule:

  • It will go into effect on October 15, 2019. (Anticipated litigation over the rule may change this timeline.)
  • The rule will penalize low and middle income immigrants applying for a Green Card or certain types of visas, for using certain public benefits for which they are eligible.
  • Immigrants who are concerned about how the public charge rule might affect them or their loved ones can call ActionNYC at 311 or 1-800-354-0365 and say ‘public charge’ to access City-funded, trusted legal advice.

Please share this update with your network. Resources in multiple languages will be made available shortly on

We are committed to helping all New Yorkers access the public benefits and services they’re entitled to.

In solidarity,


Nick Gulotta
Director of Outreach & Organizing
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
Pronouns: He/him/his


Public Charge Comment Event – Gallery

On December 8th we held our Public Charge Comment Event, outside the Jackson Heights Post Office. The aim was to help as many people as possible make their comments against the Trump administration’s Public Charge Proposal. The turnout was fantastic, and it was a joy to see so much of our community getting involved. Thank you to everyone who participated, and to Isa Newman-Rodriguez for the pics!

Click each image to see it full size.

[robo-gallery id=”588″]

The “Public Charge” Proposal – Make Your Voice Heard!

DEADLINE December 10th!!!

Update (10/11/19): A Judge in New York has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which stops the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” regulation from going into effect. This is a victory for immigrant families. The legal fight will continue, but for now, the rules in the United States have not changed. 

President Trump’s “Public Charge” proposal will force millions of immigrants to choose between public services and seeking permanent residence, by making it harder for those who have used public services to get their Green Card.

Before the rule can be finalized, however, the administration is required by law to review and respond to every unique public comment they receive.

To make your voice heard, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to this link:
  2. Fill in your name.
  3. In the box labeled Why is this important to you? write your comment.
  4. Click the Submit Your Comment

What should you write in the comment box?

  • Tell the government why you disagree with the “Public Charge” rule.
  • What will happen to you or your family if you are forced to stop using public services, such as Medicaid, food aid, or housing aid?
  • Do you disagree with the proposal, even though you will not be affected by it? Let the government know!
  • Use your own words – if you copy someone else’s comment it will not be read more than once.
  • Use English – comments must be in English to be read.
  • Some examples:

This rule will threaten the health and well-being of my children.

I disagree with this rule because I have paid my taxes and should be entitled to receive help without jeopardizing my chance for a Green Card.

This rule could cost our economy $164 billion a year and drive up poverty, hunger & housing needs.



The Public Charge Rule – The Facts

Update (10/11/19): A Judge in New York has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which stops the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” regulation from going into effect. This is a victory for immigrant families. The legal fight will continue, but for now, the rules in the United States have not changed. We will be updating this website in the coming days to reflect this.

This information was presented at a meeting, held at PS 69, Jackson Heights, on Tuesday November 20, by Claudia Calhoun (Senior Director of Immigrant Integration Policy, New York Immigrant Coalition).

The purpose of the meeting, and this post, was to correct the ongoing misinformation about these proposed changes to the Green Card application process, and to encourage people to submit comments to the government during the current comment period.

The Trump administration is proposing changes to the Green Card application process which would take into account whether or not the applicant has previously used certain public benefits. The ‘Public Charge’ rule would mean that any immigrants using these benefits would be considered a Public Charge and therefore less desirable as a potential permanent resident.

Here are the facts about the proposals, and how they will affect future Green Card applications:

  1. The rule is still in the proposal and public comment stage. It has not been enacted yet. The proposed changes are in a comment period until December 10.  The government must read all the comments before any further action can be taken.  This will take 4 to 5 months.  If the proposals are approved, it will then take another 60 days before they go into effect.
  2. The proposed changes only take into consideration certain benefits. These are benefits relate only to housing, SNAP, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D.
  3. The proposed regulations do NOT affect people who already have a Green Card or a temporary Green Card.  They also do not affect refugees, asylees, Uvisa, VAWA, or special immigrant juveniles.  If you have no pathway to citizenship, these regulations do not affect you.
  4. If enacted, the Public Charge rule will not be retroactive. Once the rule comes into effect, only public benefits used after that date will be considered. The rule cannot take into account benefits used before that date.
  5. Applications for citizenship DO NOT fall under the Public Charge proposal. There will be NO public charge test for people applying for naturalization.
  6. Receiving workers’ compensation is NOT part of this proposal.
  7. Children’s benefits will NOT affect a parent’s ability to get a green card. Anyone who has WIC, CHIP, EITC, ADAP, or benefits for American-born children to go to a clinic or hospital will not be affected by this proposal.
  8. Some aspects of the Public Charge rule are not new, and are already part of the process. When someone applies for a green card, income, health, job, and skills are already looked at. These are not new tests, but maybe the government will be more interested in the answers now. However, the government has to look at the whole picture.
  9. Green card holders are NOT being asked to surrender their cards at the border. There have been no genuine reports of people being stopped at airports and having their IDs taken away. This was a false story in a newspaper which was later retracted.

It is important to remember that these changes are still only a proposal. They are not final. So you should keep using your current benefits. You will not currently be helping yourself by quitting your benefits at the moment. 

There have been changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual, so if you are trying to bring your parents to the US, you should talk to an immigration attorney.  Call 1-800-566-7636.  Or call 311 and ask for ActionNYC.

Post a comment now and voice your opposition to the Public Charge rule

Make a comment at You can make your comment on your cell phone or on a computer.  Comments must be in English.  Anyone can make a comment regardless of immigrant status.  Citizens can comment too.  Explain how these proposed changes will affect your life. The government is obliged to read ALL comments and take them into consideration.

By making a comment

  • You can affect the final decision.
  • You can make your voice heard.
  • You can show your community’s opposition.