Public charge is a term used to describe a person deemed to be primarily dependent on government assistance. Currently, immigrants eligible for green cards and those seeking admission to the United States on a temporary basis must show that they are not likely to become a public charge (LPC). However, under a new proposal by the current administration, the definition of an LPC will be expanded to government subsidies not previously included. Anyone the government predicts will—at any time— benefit from Medicaid, Medicare, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance may be denied a green card or visa. Other expansions in the new proposal would affect people with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty level—approximately $63,000 per year for a family of four—or those with pre-existing health conditions.
We, at United Way Monterey County, envision a future where children are nurtured, families have safe housing, and workers earn enough to meet their needs. Our innovative programs are designed to tackle these challenges through early care and education, housing, and asset building. We fight these challenges through community partnerships, collaboration, and advocacy. We feel that the proposed rule changes are counter to our core community values built on the contributions of immigrants and that the changes provoke fear and confusion. As such, we are deeply concerned that these proposed rule changes will harm children and working families in Monterey County and in turn hurt our economy and the well-being of the community we serve.
The proposal is currently open for public comments by individuals or organizations until December 10, 2018. United Way Monterey County submitted a public comment November 29, 2018. For more information on the proposed regulations and Public Charge view First 5 Monterey County’s page on the subject and the article published by Monterey County Weekly. If you or someone you know is in need of immigration resources dial 2-1-1 or click here.