Please note: Notario Publicos are not attorneys in the United States.

There is a lot of confusion about how public charge affects immigrant and refugee families. San Diego Hunger Coalition will continue to update this page with new information and resources as they become available.

Safe Food Assistance Programs That DO NOT Affect Immigration Status

These food assistance programs are not used to determine public charge. Please continue to access them as needed:

  • Free and reduced-price school, afterschool, and summer meals

  • WIC

  • Food pantries and distributions

  • Senior congregate and home delivered meals

For information on accessing benefits or immigration services, please call 2-1-1.

In the News

Public Charge Explained

When immigration officials determine whether someone is eligible to enter the United States or receive a green card, they apply a test to determine whether that person can support his/herself or will need government assistance. If individuals are determined likely to need assistance, their immigration status may be jeopardized by becoming categorized as a “public charge.”

Change to the Public Charge Rule and Food Assistance

The U.S. Department of Immigration recently broadened the definition of “public charge,” or what makes a person likely to need public assistance, to include accessing CalFresh/SNAP.

This Doesn’t Apply to Everyone

The following individuals are exempt from the Public Charge Rule:

  • Refugee status residents

  • Individuals granted asylum

  • U or T visa holders (survivors of trafficking or domestic abuse)

  • Green Card holders seeking renewal*

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile status residents

  • U.S. Citizens

*Green card holders considering traveling outside of the U.S. for more than 180 days in a year should consult an immigration attorney.

The new rule does not take effect until October 15, 2019

Your status cannot be affected by a family member accessing public assistance. Please continue to enroll your child and exempt family members in CalFresh, Medicaid, and cash assistance programs.

Please contact an immigration attorney if you have questions about how the new Public Charge rule affects you or someone you know.