On March 9, 2021, the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” Final Rule was effectively invalidated nationwide as the Department of Justice (DOJ), under President Biden’s leadership, withdrew their appeal on litigation challenging the rule. Subsequently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally rescinded the rule from the previous administration, reinstating the prior guidance from 1999.
This means that DHS is officially no longer applying the August 2019 public charge final rule and will apply the Interim Field Guidance from 1999. The receipt of Medicaid/Medi-Cal (except when it pays for long-term care), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/CalFresh benefits, Section 8 and public housing will not be considered as a part of a public charge inadmissibility determination. Only cash assistance for income maintenance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/CalWORKs, and long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense will apply.
Although the rule has been invalidated since March, it is imperative that providers and advocates continue to message the reversal of the Trump-era public charge rule to our communities in order to combat the chilling effect and let immigrant families know that the use of life-saving public benefits will not have immigration consequences. It is also important to remember that even the 1999 guidance does not apply to all immigrants and will not apply to the testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases, including COVID-19.
The Protecting Immigrant Families campaign has developed family-facing messages and a robust social media toolkit which can be used for sharing updates with community members.
Additionally, if you or your clients have questions or concerns about a public charge determination, please contact a local legal services provider. LAHSA has compiled a list of Immigration Legal Services providers in Los Angeles County, available here. Additional resources are available through the Los Angeles County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs website (here).