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Public Charge Rule Change Hurts Marginalized Communities

Photo by Nitish Meena/

Aug. 16, 2019

The California Wellness Foundation is deeply disappointed to learn of a new regulation that expands the government’s definition of the term “public charge,” targeting legal immigrants who are enrolled in benefit programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. Starting in October, participation in such programs will count as a strike against an applicant who is applying for a green card or visa.

Cal Wellness believes that this new regulation change is needlessly cruel and creates unnecessary obstacles for approximately 13 million immigrants. We oppose the change to the public charge rule and we believe that it is a threat to our collective wellness.

Here in California, two counties have already filed a lawsuit against the rule, outlining in their suit how the change hurts “critical public health and safety-net systems” and increases risks to public health. Additional litigation is expected in the coming weeks. This fight is not over.

This regulation is a dangerous threat to the future of this country. But you can fight fear with facts – we encourage you to know your rights. (Learn more information from Protecting Immigrant Families here.)

We’ve included resources below to help navigate the regulation.

In solidarity,
Cal Wellness


California Counties Are the First to File a Lawsuit Over the Public Charge Rule

Changes to “Public Charge” Inadmissibility Rule: Implications for Health and Health Coverage

Immigrant Legal Resource Center | Public Charge

The New “Public Charge” Immigration Rule: How It Affects Students And Schools | Schoolhouse Connection

The New “Public Charge” Rule Affecting Immigrants Has Major Implications for Medicaid and Entire Communities 

Public Charge & Health Care in California 


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