Press Statement

UnidosUS: Trump’s Public Charge Rule Is an Attack on Legal Immigration

September 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) responded to the Trump administration’s proposal to radically change the existing “public charge” policy to punish legal immigrants and restrict family-based immigration, one of the cornerstones of our country’s immigration system. Public charge is a decades-old term and policy that forms part of the green card application process and examines an applicant’s means to support themselves over the long term. Yet, Trump’s proposed rule takes the policy well beyond its original purpose in an effort to block the door to the legal immigration system for America’s working families.

The proposed change put forth by the administration would rework the policy unnecessarily, broadening the criteria by which an individual is deemed a “public charge” to include participation in critical programs to which they are eligible, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid. Further, it would tack on new family income barriers that would disproportionately impact green card applicants from working-class backgrounds.

“The proposed rule change is yet another product of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda—now taking aim at legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members. As expected, this new regulation is rooted in changing our legal immigration system to one based on the size of your wallet and the color of your skin, and masking it with misinformation and the false pretense that immigrants pose a burden to American taxpayers despite clear evidence against it. This pernicious proposal must be rebuffed. We are working with our network and sister organizations and urge people weigh in during the comment period to ensure our values as a country are reflected in our policies,” said Clarissa Martinez-de-Castro, Deputy Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.