Immigrant Advocates Welcome Biden’s Review of Public Charge Rule, Urge Immediate Action to Undo Damage of Trump Era

The New York Immigration Coalition applauds President Biden’s Executive Order directing the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and Department of Justice to immediately review the “Public Charge” rules put in place by his predecessor. Trump’s racist wealth test has cut off an important pathway to family reunification and created confusion and anguish for immigrant New Yorkers. The latter have been unsure about the possible consequences of using public benefit programs for their families. Amid an unprecedented pandemic, the public charge rule has discouraged immigrant families from seeking the care they need and are eligible for, thus undermining the nation’s public health response to COVID-19. 

“We urge DHS, DOS, and DOJ to immediately undo the public charge rule and reassure immigrant families of the importance of accessing health, housing, food, and other public programs that they are eligible for and need to ensure the health and safety of their families, especially during this pandemic,” said Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition. “The Trump administration used the public charge rule as a vicious, ill-conceived, and illegal ploy against immigrant families and the social safety net. We must move quickly to undo this rule and limit its damage. President Biden’s actions today are an important first step on that path.”


  • The public charge rule remains in effect in New York State until further guidance is issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
  • There are NO public charge consequences to receiving health services related to COVID-19, including testing, treatment, and vaccination.
  • We strongly urge immigrant New Yorkers to seek the care and benefits they need. 
  • For general public charge information in 14 languages, see the NYIC’s Public Charge information page.

Anyone with public charge-related questions who would like to consult an immigration expert can contact the New Americans hotline, anonymously and free of charge, at 1-800-566-7636.