Public Charge

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a new immigration rule changing the definition of who may be considered a “public charge” in the U.S. “Public charge” is a term used in immigration law to refer to a person who is likely to become primarily dependent on government benefits to meet their basic needs. The proposed rule, if enacted, would make significant and harmful changes to immigration law and discourage many immigrants from accessing programs that help them meet their basic food, housing, and healthcare needs.

You can take action right now to fight this proposed change and to protect our non-citizen residents. Let the government know that this rule does not reflect your values and that it would harm you, your family, your community, and our country. Join us by submitting comments on the proposed rule - comments are due by December 10, 2018, and the government must consider all unique comments submitted!

If you, a friend, or a client is considering terminating benefits or declining to apply because of the proposed change, please consult with an attorney, such as the South Royalton Legal Clinic or Vermont Legal Aid, or a nonprofit serving immigrants, like AALV or the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.

For more information on public charge, refer to the resources below, or reach out to Drake Turner, Food Security Advocacy Manager at Hunger Free Vermont at (802) 231-0394 or

click here to submit a public comment on the proposed rule