Trump Administration Publishes Proposed Rule on Public Charge

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published in the Federal Register proposed changes to how the federal government determines whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge.” Individuals applying for seeking adjustment of a status or a visa must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge under the proposed rule. DHS also proposes to require all individuals seeking an extension of stay or change of immigration status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, and are not likely to receive public benefits as defined in the full text of the proposed rule.

Please recall, for any changes to public charge to take effect, the following must occur:

  • Proposed changes must be published by the Federal Register (occurred October 10, 2018);
  • A 60-day comment period must occur (deadline set for December 10, 2018);
  • The Administration must review submitted comments;
  • A final rule must be issued and will be deemed effective 60 days after the issuance of the final rule.

Under the proposed rule, the public charge test would be expanded to weigh whether an immigrant is receiving one or more specified public benefits, including non-emergency Medicaid, Medicare Part D, housing subsidies, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among other considerations. DHS is also seeking comment on whether to include the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a factor in public charge determinations. Notably, the proposed rule does not explicitly include Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program benefits or public health assistance for immunizations and testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases.

According to several relevant stakeholder organizations, the proposed rule is likely to cause a chilling effect among immigrants accessing public programs and governmental services. CHEAC Staff will closely monitor further developments.

In the meantime, we request that members assess the impact of the proposed rule on local health department operations and services and provide written comments to Jack Anderson via email ( by COB on Friday, November 16, 2018. CHEAC Staff will then collate all comments into a letter and submit to the federal government. Individual jurisdictions are also welcome to submit their own comments via and we ask that jurisdictions please provide a copy of written comments to CHEAC. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the CHEAC Office.