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January 31, 2020

On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court removed the preliminary injunction which prevented the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from moving forward with their new public charge rule nationwide. As the last of three nationwide injunctions still standing, the public charge rule can now go into effect everywhere across the country except Illinois, where it is blocked by a statewide injunction. As it goes into effect, the new public charge rules will, for certain classes of immigrants, restrict what public benefits can be received without affecting a person’s future immigration status.  The rule change does not impact everyone and many categories of immigrants will not need their benefits to change. Before disenrolling from any benefits, we encourage you or your client to consult with an immigration attorney.

Reports have indicated that the public charge rule will become effective on February 24, 2020, meaning certain classes of immigrants using the benefits named in the rule on or after that date may be subject to the public charge test. However, litigation will continue in the lower courts as the merits of the case are still being discussed. While the Supreme Court ruling allows the public charge rule to take effect next month, there is the possibility that it may be blocked again or found to be unlawful in the future.

For now, it is important to know your rights and the facts. The rule does not impact everyone. Eligibility for benefits will remain unchanged, but should you or your clients wish to disenroll from certain benefits in anticipation of changing you or your client’s immigration status, you should speak to an immigration attorney first – you can find a list of immigration and legal resources below. You can also use the following resources to determine if you or your clients would be subject to the public charge test:

Screening Web Tool:

Screening Text tool: (650) 376-8006

  • Text “benefits” for English
  • Text “libre” for Spanish
  • Text “福利” for Chinese
  • Text “lợiích” for Vietnamese

Additional immigration and legal resources can be viewed at the following places:

  • California Department of Social Services’ Public Charge Contact List of organizations that can provide legal consultation and/or education and outreach on public charge can be found here
  • List of Immigration Legal Services in Los Angeles County can be found here
  • Los Angeles County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs website can be found here

To get more involved and take action on rules and legislation like this that affects immigrant families, please visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to LAHSA's Legislative Analyst, Samantha Vethavanam by email.

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