Do not change the "public charge" rules

Announcement: we are lucky to be joined at our Tuesday Weekly Meeting by State Rep. Noel Frame from the 36th District. Please RSVP on our event page, and we look forward to seeing you there!

(Five Days of Action for Children in the Immigration System, Pt. 5)

Our final day of action involves a proposed regulatory change to what is known as the “public charge” rule. When evaluating an applicant for a visa or green card, the government considers the likelihood that the applicant might end up on some form of public assistance. USCIS currently defines public assistance as receiving over half of your income from cash forms of assistance (such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or long-term care through Medicaid). The administration proposes to expand this rule to include additional forms of assistance, including tax credits that are only available to working people:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
  • low-income component of the Child Tax Credit;
  • Medicaid;Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
  • ACA subsidies;
  • SNAP (formerly known as food stamps)

These rule changes would cover not only benefits granted to current legal immigrants, but also to their U.S. citizen spouses and children. 

The Kaiser Foundation estimates that nearly 20 million children living in immigrant families could be affected by these proposed changes. The change would have a particularly harsh impact on pregnant women and children, who might forgo health care and nutrition assistance programs to protect their immigration status. The New York Times reported in March that “Immigrants hoping for permanent residence are dropping out of public nutrition programs even before prominent elements of the Trump administration’s proposed policy changes are enacted, fearful that participating could threaten their citizenship eligibility or put them at risk for deportation.”

Today's Action: Thank our Members of Congress

While we wait for these proposed rules to be published, tell Congress that poorer immigrants should not be penalized by unrealistic expectations of the wealth they should bring with them to our country. Many Americans have personal stories they can tell of relatives who arrived with nothing but a suitcase and a few American relatives who helped them get on their feet.

Thank your Representative: either Pramila Jayapal or Adam Smith for signing on to a letter to DHS Secretary Nielsen (, speaking out against these proposed changes to the public charge rules.

Call Either:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal—DC 202-225-3106; Seattle 206-674-0040


Rep. Adam Smith—DC 202-225-8901; Renton 425-793-5180

Sample Script

Hi - My name is [NAME] and I'm calling from [CITY, ZIP]. I want to thank [Representative Name] for co-signing a letter to DHS Secretary Nielsen on May 7th telling the Trump Administration that immigrants shouldn't have to choose between getting help they need and being reunited with their loved ones. I am proud to be represented in Congress by [Representative Name].

Bonus Action

Sign up for a couple of mailing lists to be informed when you can comment on the proposed rule changes: the National Immigration Law Center (, and the Children’s Alliance in WA state ( both have lists. We must all provide comments on these rules when they are published!


  • Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign. There are many talking points here you can use to write comments when these rules are published for comment.
  • “Trump Rule Would Threaten Low-Wage Legal Immigrants in the U.S. If Their Families Receive Any of Wide Array of Benefits, Including the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, May 1, 2018.
  • “Trump “Public Charge” Rule Would Prove Particularly Harsh for Pregnant Women and Children.” Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, May 1, 2018.
  • “Nearly 20 Million Children Live in Immigrant Families that Could Be Affected by Evolving Immigration Policies.” Samantha Artiga and Anthony Damico, Kaiser Family Foundation, April 18, 2018.
  • “Spooked by Trump Proposals, Immigrants Abandon Public Nutrition Services.” Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, March 6, 2018.