Everything you need to know about the proposed 'public charge' rule

A new Trump administration proposal would expand the definition of who is a 'public charge'
A new Trump administration proposal would expand the definition of who is a 'public charge'
Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock
A new Trump administration proposal would expand the definition of who is a 'public charge.'

Everything you need to know about the proposed 'public charge' rule

And updates from nonprofits across New York.
October 23, 2018

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services has renewed a $49.4 million contract with SCO Family of Services. The money will fund foster care services, according to the City Record. Urban Pathways has received a $9.9 million contract from the city Department of Homeless Services to operate safe havens for chronic street homeless adults at 274 West 40th Street and at 301 West 48th Street through June 2023.


There’s a new president of the board at The Workmen’s Circle. Richard Rumelt will serve a two-year term leading the board at the progressive social justice Jewish nonprofit, succeeding Peter Pepper, who will now serve as treasurer. This is not the first time that Rumelt has served on the board, having previously done so from 2010 until 2016, according to an Oct. 21 press release. Zeev Dagan, Michelle Green, and Eric Marshall also joined the board, effective Oct. 21, and will serve three-year terms.


The Trevor Project, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBT youth, has something to say about the Trump administration’s plans to redefine gender. The move would jeopardize civil rights protections and social services that were made possible by the Obama administration directives, according to The New York Times.

“Implementing a harmful policy with an erroneous foundation that doesn’t acknowledge transgender or intersex people goes against the best practices of the World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, WPATH, leading education advocates and others. This policy would be extremely dangerous for people who have pursued social and physical transition in a variety of public environments such as schools, locker rooms, healthcare settings, and much more,” Amit Paley, CEO of the nonprofit, said in a statement. Read the full statement here.


Another proposal from the Trump administration would expand the definition of a “public charge.” If implemented, this proposal would effectively mean that hundreds of thousands of immigrants in New York would have to forgo social services or risk becoming ineligible for permanent residency. Here’s an in-depth analysis from the New Yorker. Comments on the proposed rule (USCIS-2010-0012) will be accepted until Dec. 10 and can be made here.

Here is a breakdown of the proposed rule on the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An analysis of the rule and how it would affect New Yorkers is also available on the New York City government website, which has listed a few takeaways of where the proposal now stands and also features a widget to post official comments on the proposal. Here are the takeaways, taken verbatim from the website:

  • This is a proposal, not a final change. This page will be updated if it becomes final.
  • This proposal would not change eligibility requirements for public benefits programs.
  • Not all immigrants and their families would be subject to this proposed regulation. Refugees, asylees, applicants for U or T visas, VAWA self-petitioners, Special Immigrant Juveniles, and those with certain other statuses are not subject to a "public charge" test.
  • There is no "public charge" test when applying for citizenship. This proposed rule would not change that.
  • For more information about public charge, call the New Americans Hotline, operated by Catholic Charities, at 1-800-566-7636 from 9 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • To make an appointment with an immigration legal services provider, call ActionNYC at 1-800-354-0365 from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • If you are sponsoring a family member abroad for a visa, some "public charge" changes at U.S. consulates abroad may apply to you. If you have questions, please call 311 and say "Public Charge" to connect to help.

Those looking to venture into the weeds of the proposal can read the full 183-page post to the Federal Register below:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Richard Remelt had previously served as president of the board at The Workmen's Circle. In fact he served on the board from 2010 until 2016 but did not serve as president.

Zach Williams
Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at New York Nonprofit Media and sister publication City & State.