News & Events

Supreme Court clears path for harmful ‘public charge’ rule

PIF poster imageBOSTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a preliminary injunction that was blocking implementation of the “public charge” rule, thus enabling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to begin applying the rule across the country (except Illinois, where a separate injunction still stands).

“This is a devastating blow to working-class immigrants,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA. “The ‘public charge’ rule is an affront to the American Dream, labeling people as undesirable if they are not wealthy, healthy and educated on arrival. Worst of all, by framing its means test in terms of potential use of public benefits, this rule has made many immigrant parents afraid of accessing programs that their children are entitled to, and that make our communities stronger and healthier.”

“We are deeply disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed this harmful policy to move forward,” Ms. Millona added.

As co-leader of the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign in Massachusetts, MIRA will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that immigrants in our communities know their rights and have the tools they need to make the best decisions for their families.

Our message to immigrants is: Make sure you know the facts before making choices that affect your family!

  • If you’re a naturalized U.S. citizen, this doesn’t affect you.
  • If you already have your green card, this doesn’t affect you. Just make sure to any trips abroad are less than six months.
  • If you’re applying for a green card as an asylee or refugee, or with a T or U visa or a VAWA petition, this doesn’t affect you.
  • If you have TPS or DACA, this doesn’t affect you, unless a family member is sponsoring you for a green card.
  • If you are applying for a green card, or plan to in the near future, the rule does apply to you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should disenroll yourself or your children from public programs. Evaluate the situation carefully before you act. Only a narrow set of programs are covered, only benefits received by you directly are considered, and because the rule is forward-looking, your income potential is the key factor.

UPDATE Jan. 31, 2020: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the rule will be applied effective Feb. 24, 2020, and it will not be retroactive.

If you are an immigrant or work with immigrants and would like to learn more, see our public charge resources. We also encourage immigrant families who may be affected by the rule to consult with an immigration lawyer and/or call the HFCA Help Line for more advice.

The Protecting Immigrant Families campaign in Massachusetts is co-led by MIRA, Health Care For AllHealth Law Advocates, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.