CLINIC Reacts to Final Public Charge Rule Release Announcement

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Today, Sept. 8, the Department of Homeland Security announced the long-awaited final regulation on public charge. The administration elected to maintain the traditional interpretation of the term ‘public charge,’ and replace the previous administration’s definition of this term. This formal clarification regarding the effect of receiving certain public benefit programs will hopefully reduce confusion for many low-income immigrants applying for lawful permanent residence. 

“The final public charge rule is a win for low-income immigrant families in that it moves to restore the pre-Trump guidance and narrows the list of public benefit programs whose receipt can be considered,” said Charles Wheeler, director emeritus of Training and Legal Support and senior attorney at CLINIC. “We welcome a rule that seeks to lower barriers for those applying for lawful immigration status and clarifies the role of the affidavit of support.” 

Many immigrants remain confused and fearful about the relationship between accessing government benefits and applying for lawful status.  

“This rule is a step in the right direction,” said Anna Gallagher, CLINIC’s executive director. “We will keep working with our affiliates to provide accurate information related to public charge so that immigrant families can apply for lawful status while accessing needed and available social programs.” 

The new rule will go into effect on Dec. 23, 2022.