The County of Santa Clara strongly opposes the proposed "public charge" rule, announced by the Trump Administration on September 22, 2018 and officiallly published on October 10, 2018. The proposed rule, if finalized as drafted, would upend decades of immigration law, jeopardize County residents' use of essential safety-net benefits and services, and undermine County policies that have helped its communities to thrive.
The U.S. government may deny entry and green cards to certain non-citizens it deems likely to become a "public charge." Under existing policy, "public charge" means someone who is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Whether an immigrant is deemed likely to become a public charge depends on many factors, including the immigrant's use of a narrow set of public benefits.
The Trump Administration's proposed rule
would significantly expand the public charge analysis. Under the proposal, the federal government would consider an immigrant's use of a broadened range of public benefits. And it could deny entry or green cards to certain non-citizens, including some lawful visa holders, based on the likelihood that they might use even a modest amount of those benefits in the future. These benefits would include critically important programs and services, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP/CalFresh), non-emergency Medicaid/Medi-Cal, public housing and Section 8 vouchers.
The County's public comment, submitted on December 10, 2018, is available here. Before any proposed public charge rule can be finalized and take effect, the Department of Homeland Security must consider all of the public comments received, including the County's.
Frequently Asked Questions
The County provides this FAQ for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The FAQ represents the County's understanding of existing law and policy, and the likely impact the proposed "public charge" rule would have if it became final as proposed. No part constitutes legal advice. For any questions about specific circumstances, please consult an attorney.