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Press Release

NAKASEC Community Update on what the Immigrant Community Should Know About “Public Charge”

By January 31, 2020February 24th, 2020No Comments


January 31, 2020 


NAKASEC Community Update on what the Immigrant Community Should Know About “Public Charge” 


Chicago, IL – The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) releases this statement in response to the lifted injunction on public charge. On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court lifted the  nationwide injunction on public charge, allowing Trump’s changes to the “public charge” rule to go into effect. 


What is Public Charge? 


In our immigration law, a person is “inadmissible” to the United States if they are likely to become a “public charge,” meaning if they depend on the government for subsistence or long-term care. These individuals could be denied a green card or admission. This law only affects those being sponsored by U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members to apply for permanent residence (or green cards)  and those applying for certain temporary visas abroad 


How Did Public Charge Change? 


On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a proposed “public charge” regulation (a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. On August 14, 2019, after completing its review of the more than 260,000 public comments submitted, DHS published a final regulation that departed only slightly from the proposed version.  


Under this new “public charge” test, DHS will now consider benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, “EBT,” or “Food Stamps”), Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance, Medicaid (except for emergency services, children under 21 years, pregnant women, and new mothers), and cash assistance programs (SSI, TANF, General Assistance).  


Services such as WIC, CHIP, school lunches, food banks, shelters, state or local health care programs, and many other programs are not counted in the “public charge” test.  


After DHS published the final rule on August 14, 2019, the courts placed a “nationwide injunction” on public charge, meaning that while the courts were considering legal challenges against it, the new rule could not go into effect. 


On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court lifted the nationwide injunction, which allows the Trump Administration to implement the rule, even as courts are considering legal challenges. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the new “public charge” rule beginning February 24, 2020, except in Illinois. This rule is not retroactive, meaning USCIS will only apply the final rule to applications postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020.  


What Should Community Members Do? 


NAKASEC strongly advises community members to speak with an immigration expert to discuss your individual case before making any important decisions about the well-being of your family. We understand that the “public charge” conversation has created very real fear and confusion among our community members. We would like to assure our community members that many immigrants will not be affected, use of public benefits will not automatically make you a public charge, many programs are not included in the public charge test, and benefits used by family members will not count in “public charge” decisions made in the US. 


If you have questions about how “public charge” will impact your individual case, please Nancy Kang, Director of Senior Services & Public Benefits from the HANA Center. Her email is and her office line is 773-583-5501, ext. 145. Folks can also call Jeonghwa Boyle, DOJ Accredited Representative with HANA Center. Her email is and her office line is 847-520-1999 ext. 102