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.
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
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
KUSI - San Diego Unified addresses concerns on changes to federal public charge policy - September 4, 2019
KUSI - Families encouraged to use free and reduced lunch programs despite charge - September 3, 2019
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
*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.