Public charge is an immigration policy that will prevent people from obtaining legal residency (a green card) if immigration officials deem them to be at risk of depending on public services. Specifically, people can be denied a path to citizenship if they use public resources for health coverage, housing support or food assistance.
The new public charge rule took effect nationally (except for Illinois) on February 24, 2020. Many immigrant families are very afraid of public charge even if it does not apply to them.
This website provides an excellent guide for talking to families about this policy, including the document “Public Charge: Does this apply to me?” in English and Spanish.
You can ensure that your clinic is a safe space for immigrant families by using this toolkit from the Minnesota Immigrant Health Alliance (MIHA).
If patients have specific questions about their situation, please encourage them to speak with an immigration attorney.
Special thanks to MNAAP members Drs. Hannah Lichtsinn and Calla Brown for sharing resources and information on this important issue.