Public Charge: Our Response

On October 10, the Administration announced an executive action that changes the definition of “public charge,” broadening it to include whether an individual participates in critical low-income assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 housing vouchers.

This new rule could force immigrant families to choose between a secure future in this country and their ability to access healthy food, safe housing, and health care. In New York City alone, the Mayor’s Office estimates that the ruling would immediately impact 75,000 residents who currently qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and have an immigration status that would be put at risk if they continue to use SNAP. It could potentially impact another 400,000 residents who could be eligible for permanent residency in the near future and be turned down because of this rule.

City Harvest opposes this policy because we believe that no New Yorker should have to choose between putting food on the table and living in our city and country. As we work on the frontlines to feed New York City, we have a responsibility to help all of our neighbors in need, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the executive action around public charge. The comment period closed on December 10, 2018.

The Administration is now reviewing all the comments, which will likely take months. In the meantime, nothing changes for those eligible for federal assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 housing vouchers. We encourage you to visit the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs if you have any questions about benefits.

We’ll continue to watch this issue, working closely with Feeding America and the City of New York, and we will keep you updated as we learn more.