Category: Your Voice

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.




ICE – Know Your Rights!

“The Trump Administration’s threats of immigration enforcement have many families worried.  The de Blasio Administration wants to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, know that they have rights and protections under the law. If you are worried about what the President’s actions could mean for you and your loved ones—particularly if you have ever been in deportation proceedings, have received an order from immigration court, or have concerns about your immigration status—call the ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365 to receive free and safe immigration legal help.”

Bitta Mostofi
Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

Following remarks by President Trump this week, it has been announced that ICE will begin mass actions in 10 major cities, targeting undocumented immigrants in pre-dawn raids. Immigrant Defense Project and the New York Immigration Coalition have put together a series of flyers, posters and toolkits to help you know your rights if ICE come for you.










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.


We Need Your Comments!

The Public Charge Rule: A New Wealth Test for Immigrants WE MUST STAND UP FOR AN INCLUSIVE AND WELCOMING AMERICA.

For over 100 years the “public charge test” has been part of US immigration law, used to define those who depend on the government as their main source of support. Until now, “public charge” has been narrowly applied to people receiving government cash assistance or institutional long-term care.

The Trump Administration has published a Public Charge proposal in the Federal Register. It vastly expands the definition to include many health and welfare programs for children and families. The proposed rule could make working class and lowincome immigrants who participate in medical and social service programs–food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, public housing, and more–ineligible to receive a green card.

The rule has not yet gone into effect, but news of it has frightened many needy immigrants away from crucial support to which they are legally entitled. With about one in four children having at least one immigrant parent, this issue touches millions and is critical now and for our nation’s future.

Key Points

  • Housing assistance, food stamps and Medicaid are a gateway to economic self-sufficiency.
  • Short-term costs of social assistance programs are greatly exceeded by long-term economic benefits.
  • Studies show that affordable medication and health insurance improve health outcomes and reduce missed days of work or reliance on short-term disability. See Kaiser Foundation re public health implications:
  • Restricting lower-income immigration will hurt the United State economically. See: How public charge rule will affect employers and immigrants
  • Denying green cards to people with health problems will break up families.


How To:

  1. Review key points above.
  2. Go on the comment link and use your own words to submit a comment.
  3. Use facts. Cite studies, point out costs, make policy arguments, and include personal stories about yourself or others to illustrate your points.
  4. Only one comment per person.
  5. Share widely on social media and by email with family, friends and colleagues.

To see Administration’s proposed Public Charge rules: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds:

Download the flyer HERE.