Public charge is a concept in immigration law that can be used to bar an individual’s entry into the United States or hurt their ability to get a green card based on a list of factors that suggest the person is likely to become a “public charge.” Currently the government interprets this to mean that the individual is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.

The fear of public charge deters immigrants from accessing critical public benefits and services even though receiving public benefits does not automatically make an individual a public charge.

The ILRC works to ensure immigrants and their families to do not forego critical benefits and services when public charge may not apply to them at all. We are experts on the immigration consequences of public charge and help communities understand the immigration options that may protect immigrants from being subject to the public charge rule. We provide legal advocates and service providers with the expert training they need to promote accurate information within immigrant communities, investigate immigration options, and retain or enroll families in the services they need.