Final Public Charge Rule Published

2019-08-13

On August 14, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be publish a final rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” This change to U.S. immigration policies will make it much more difficult to apply for a green card or earn a visa for applicants who are deemed likely to depend on government aid such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance and Medicaid. The new policy is set to go into effect in mid-October.

Under the new rule, benefits provided under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Seamless Summer Option, Afterschool Meal Supplement, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program “would not be considered public benefits under the public charge inadmissibility determination.”

However, in SNA’s comments in response to the proposed rule, the Association expressed concern that the change “will result in children going hungry during the school day, even though they are legally authorized and eligible to receive free or reduced priced school meals…If SNAP benefits are considered in public charge determinations, many immigrant families, afraid to risk their immigration status, will drop out of SNAP, effectively compromising their students’ meal status. Fear and confusion surrounding this complex rule change will deter these families from submitting free or reduced price school meal applications.” 

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