Policy and News

Knowledge is power, and this is especially true when defending the human rights of immigrants and refugees. In the United States, the federal policies that determine how people can enter the country, secure housing, find work and receive vital services such as healthcare are constantly evolving. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the most important policies to know.


Public Charge

Under the current rule, a public charge is defined as a person who uses or receives one or more specified public benefits for at least 12 months in a 36-month period. This definition applies to certain immigrants applying for admission or an adjustment of status on or after February 24, 2020, and it can be used as grounds for inadmissibility. Advocates are currently urging the Biden Administration to overturn the rule with an executive order and swift action.

➔ What This Means for Immigrants and Refugees


Public benefits

Due to changes in the public charge rule, applying for some public benefits, such as SNAP (“food stamps”), may now be viewed negatively by officials reviewing applications for lawful permanent resident status. Not all public benefits are considered in a public charge determination, so it is important to know which benefits are available and which will potentially impact a determination.

➔ What Public Benefits Are Available in Washington?


Accessing Healthcare

Immigrants and refugees in the United States face many challenges when attempting to access healthcare, including a lack of clear guidance on when and how to access care and obtain health insurance. During public charge determinations, eligibility for or possession of valid health insurance is deemed as a positive factor. While the process of obtaining insurance varies depending on a person’s current legal status, all immigrants and refugees can receive healthcare regardless of whether or not they have health insurance.

➔ Navigating the System



In immigration law, a sponsor is defined as someone who helps an immigrant or refugee become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) by signing a document called an “affidavit of support.” A sponsor has certain responsibilities under the law, so knowing and understanding these responsibilities is essential before one signs an affidavit of support.

➔ Understanding Sponsor Responsibilities


➔ Get the Latest Policy News


Reviewed on 8/27/2020