1st letter photo caption

A demonstrator wears a variation of the hat that President Donald Trump made famous as he marches to protest Trump's immigration policies during the "Immigrants Make America Great March" in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 18, 2017. The public charge rule would largely bar elderly Indian immigrants who wish to immigrate to the U.S. to live with their Indian American children. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

After the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the nationwide stay on implementation of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services final public charge rule, the agency announced that it would begin implementing its new policy on Feb. 24, 2020, except in the state of Illinois (where a federal court issued a limited injunction).

This new rule would deny permanent resident status (“green cards”) to immigrants who use such government services as nutrition programs and housing assistance. It applies a new wealth test by expanding the number of public benefits that would subject an individual to a public charge determination and adds age, health, and employability as factors that immigration and consular officers must use in deciding whether to grant green card status. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund will educate and engage Asian American communities about this change.

AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung said: “Despite the court’s decision, the legal fight will continue against the administration’s attempt to reshape our immigration system by favoring wealthy and white immigrants over low-income people of color. It’s more crucial than ever that Congress block funding of this new regulation.”

Although the regulation would directly affect only a small segment of people seeking green card status in the U.S., the chilling effect of this policy change has led to many Asian American families disenrolling from essential benefits for which they qualify. As a member of the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition, AALDEF will partner with local community-based organizations to provide accurate information to community residents about their rights in accessing services that are necessary to maintain the health and well-being of their families. AALDEF, together with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC and the National Women’s Law Center, with pro bono counsel Crowell & Moring LLP, filed amicus briefs in several of the ongoing lawsuits challenging the public charge rule based on racial bias and xenophobia.

“AALDEF, together with our communities and other advocates, will fight back against efforts to penalize hard-working individuals for using government programs,” said Annie Wang, director of AALDEF’s Immigrant Justice Project. “We will continue to work with our partners to help communities understand their rights and protect their families.”

Annie J. Wang

Director, Immigrant Justice Project


New York, NY

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