Heartland Alliance denounces the Department of Homeland Security’s plans to expand the definition of ‘public charge’ that would deny thousands of otherwise eligible immigrants a chance to build a life in the United States. Immigration officials use the ‘public charge’ test to determine whether an immigrant is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence but this test has historically been narrow in scope. The Administration’s move to expand this definition is nothing more than a vicious, thinly veiled move to limit legal immigration, punish those living in poverty, and stoke fear and confusion in immigrant communities.

Learn more about “Public Charge” and what this new rule means

Take Action!

Heartland Alliance is committed to opposing these policies but we need your help to fight back. The Department of Homeland Security is required to solicit public feedback on the rule prior to any official change and the public will have until December 10, 2018 to submit comments.

We need everyone to speak out against this rule by submitting a public comment. Showing opposition to the rule through the comment process really can make a difference. The Administration has to consider all the comments they receive and this can help stop the worst of this rule from occurring – or even lead to a rescinding of the rule. Please use your voice and this process to speak out! Public comments can be as simple as stating your opposition to the change and providing a sentence or two on why. Here are some ideas for what you can include in your comment:

• Explain who you are, where you live, and what you do for a living
• Share a personal story of how immigration policy has affected your family or friends
• Discuss American values of opportunity and economic mobility and how this rule undermines these values
• Call out the injustice of favoring wealthy immigrants over lower-income immigrants
• Show how access to public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance have helped you or those in your community to succeed
• Describe how this will sow fear and confusion in the immigrant community and why that is harmful to all of us
• Point out how immigration has strengthened your community and our nation as a whole
Remember: This can be as short as a couple sentences! Just make sure you comment!

How to Submit Comments

You can submit your comment through our partners at Protecting Immigrant Families’ webportal or though the federal register’s webportal. Please note that if you want to upload a word document or pdf then you will need to use the federal register’s site.

How to Stay Informed

Sign up for Heartland Alliance’s policy and advocacy listserv to stay up to date on our efforts.

To stay up to date on public charge, we invite you to join our partners at Protecting Immigrant Families, a national coalition dedicated to opposing the public charge rule. You can sign up for their national mailing list and sign onto the Illinois affiliate mailing list here.


To access webinars that have already aired, please click the link, fill in your information, and then the recording will begin.

Illinois webinar on Public Charge, Monday, October 15th (English)

Illinois webinar on Public Charge, Monday, October 15th  (Spanish)

National webinar on Public Charge 101, Wednesday, October 17th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm CST (English)

Fact sheets, Reports & More

Public Charge: A New Threat to Immigrant Families

What You Need To Know On the Public Charge Rule & Immigrant Families

Talking with Immigrant Families About “Public Charge”

The Health Impact Of The Proposed Public Charge Rules