Public Charge for Education and Outreach Providers

Public Charge
Publication Date

This one-hour training, specifically for education and outreach providers, discusses what public charge is, who is affected by it, and what the new changes mean for immigrant families. This session includes a discussion on how to conduct outreach and education on public charge to immigrant community members.

This webinar is designed for non-legal services providers to provide accurate information for the community and refer individuals for legal advice and counsel.

Note: This webinar was recorded on October 3, 2019. Much of the content in this training is unchanged, such as what public charge is and who is affected by it, but take note when the presenters flag issues that may change and check elsewhere on our website at for updates. Most importantly, as of October 11, 2019, the courts have blocked the new public charge rule from applying to any immigration application filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That means that current USCIS policy, described in this webinar, continues to apply even beyond October 15, which was previously the date the new rule was to take effect. However, different public charge rules apply to immigrants whose applications will be processed at U.S. consulates or embassies abroad and those rules were not blocked by the courts.


Ariel Brown, Special Projects Attorney - ILRC
Ariel Brown joined the ILRC in April 2017. After five years in private practice at a well-respected immigration firm in Sacramento, Schoenleber & Waltermire, PC, Ariel brings extensive practical experience to the ILRC. She has experience filing numerous immigration applications and regularly appearing before USCIS, ICE, and EOIR, with cases spanning the areas of removal defense, family-based adjustment of status and consular processing, DACA, naturalization, SIJS, U visas, and VAWA. She was also involved in establishing Sacramento’s rapid response network to respond to immigration enforcement action, and served as an American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)-USCIS liaison.

Ariel contributes to the ILRC’s Attorney of the Day legal technical assistance program, as well as writing and updating practice advisories and manuals and presenting on family-based topics for ILRC webinars.

Prior to joining the ILRC, Ariel also briefly volunteered with the International Institute of the Bay Area in Oakland, and Catholic Charities of the East Bay in Richmond. In law school, Ariel was a student advocate with the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, assisting with cancellation of removal cases for indigent noncitizens, and an editor for the Journal of International Law and Policy.

Ariel earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in anthropology. Ariel is admitted to the state bar in California.

Em Puhl, Special Projects Attorney – San Joaquin Valley - ILRC
Em joined the ILRC in January 2018 as a San Joaquin Valley Law Fellow. They bring more than a decade of experience working with immigrant communities throughout the country, including Iowa, Chicago, Phoenix, New York City, and areas throughout California. As a law student at UC Berkeley, Em participated in the International Human Rights Law Clinic and interned at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Dolores Street Community Services, and East Bay Community Law Center.

After obtaining a J.D. in 2014, Em was placed at Legal Services NYC as part of the inaugural class of Immigrant Justice Corps fellows in New York City. During this fellowship, Em provided direct representation to LGBTQ individuals, survivors of family violence, long-time permanent residents, and women and children recently arrived from Central America. Em also assisted detained women and children through the credible fear interview process at the Karnes Family Detention Center in Karnes, Texas.

Prior to joining ILRC, Em worked as an Attorney Advisor through the U.S. DOJ Attorney General Honors Program. In this position, they advised immigration judges in the San Francisco Immigration Court on issues related to grounds of removability, relief from removal, suppression of evidence, and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and post-conviction relief. Em graduated with an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UC San Diego and is fluent in Spanish.

Sarah Lakhani, Skadden Fellow - ILRC
Sarah joined the ILRC as a Skadden Fellow in September 2019. She is based in San Francisco and focuses on the intersection of immigration status and public benefits. 

Sarah earned her J.D. from Berkeley Law. As a law student, she worked at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the East Bay Community Law Center, the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, the ILRC, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. She also externed at the San Francisco Immigration Court, was a Human Rights Center Fellow, and served as an Associate Editor of the California Law Review, in which she published a Note.

Before law school, Sarah completed a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and volunteered as a law clerk for three years at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She was also a Law and Social Science Doctoral Fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law & Society at Berkeley Law. Prior to graduate school, she received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and studied abroad for a year at the Università di Bologna in Italy. Sarah is the author or co-author of academic articles on various immigration legal and sociological topics, and is conversant in Spanish and Italian.