Public Charge and Immigration Resources
What is Public Charge?
“Public charge” is the term used to refer to an individual who is primarily dependent upon the federal government for subsistence. Under the public charge rule, federal officials have more power to deny visas and green card applications from immigrants and prospective immigrants whom the government determines rely, or could rely, on certain public benefits like food stamps or government housing programs.
School Services are NOT Impacted by Public Charge
- Services for Asylees & Refugees
- Medicaid/Medi-Cal for Children Under 21
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- School Nutrition Programs
- Head Start
The Potential Impact
Many children with disabilities receive health-care services through Medicaid, and many schools fund essential personnel — such as school nurses or counselors — through Medicaid. In order for a school to bill for Medicaid funds, parents must consent. If parents are fearful of the consequences, schools may be unable or less likely to bill for these services, thereby reducing essential health-related services in schools.
Determining Public Charge
To determine whether prospective immigrants are likely to become a "public charge," caseworkers would also take into account their wealth, age, educational skills, English language proficiency and health. Since those expected to be affected by the rule are not eligible for most public benefits because they aren't U.S. citizens or permanent residents, critics of the regulation say it is designed to severely restrict immigration based on those factors.