Speak up for documented immigrant families—help us oppose public charge rule change

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: October 26, 2018

As many as 120,000 Colorado families would be forced to choose between being separated or paying for food and other basic needs under a plan released by the Trump administration. The proposal to change regulations that cut off pathways to citizenship for legally residing immigrants in the U.S. was denounced by thousands of advocacy organizations nationwide. The Colorado Children’s Campaign is opposed to the proposed change, which will lead to more separations for families trying to access essential health care, housing and nutrition benefits for which they are eligible.

Immigrant families need your voice!

The rule change would undermine 100 years of U.S. policy and vastly expand the definition of “public charge” to include not only cash benefits or long-term care, but also essential health, housing, and nutrition supports. Immigrants requesting access to the United States or who are legally present in the country, but who want to change their immigration status to Legal Permanent Resident—green card holders—are subject to the “public charge” test.

The test is designed to account for all of the life circumstances of immigrants in order to determine whether or not they are likely to become a “public charge” that relies on U.S. government services. For more than 100 years, our government has recognized that supports like access to health care and nutritious food help families thrive and remain productive. And decades ago our government clarified that immigrant families can seek health and nutrition benefits without fearing that doing so will harm their immigration case.

If this rule change is finalized, we can no longer offer that assurance. As drafted, the changes could lead to more than 120,000 Colorado families being forced to choose between being separated and meeting their basic needs. This proposal would force Colorado parents to choose between ensuring that their families have enough to eat and can access health care they need to stay healthy, and their ability to stay with their family.

The federal government needs to hear from you on this issue. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking public comment in the Federal Register on the changes to the public charge determination. Please make your voice heard and join us in submitting a comment urging DHS to reconsider any proposed changes to the public charge definition.

The deadline to submit comments is Dec. 9. You can speak up for children and families by taking the steps below:

  • Step 1: Use the sample comments below to create your comments. Adapt the sample comments below to reflect your unique perspective on why this issue matters and use your own words whenever possible to provide a unique set of comments that will be counted in the public record.
  • Step 2: Click hereto access the Federal Register.
  • Step 3:Paste your comments into the comment box. Once you have entered your information and completed the form, click “Submit Comment.”
  • Step 4: Use our sample social media posts

If you have any questions about this issue or would like support in submitting comments, please feel free to reach out to Stephanie Perez-Carrillo, Policy Analyst, at stephanie@coloradokids.org.

Sample comments – please feel free to copy, paste and edit from the Children’s Campaign comments included below:

“Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the public charge test. We write to respectfully voice our strong opposition to the proposed changes to the public charge test. The proposed changes to the public charge test will lead to Colorado families being forced to choose between being separated from their families and meeting their basic needs.”

Click here for a version you can edit.


  • Families shouldn’t have to choose between access to necessary services like #Medicaid & #SNAP and being able to apply for a green card. The #publiccharge rule change is irresponsible. Submit your comments by December 9. https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCIS-2010-0012 #ProtectFamilies
  • Govt’s proposed #publiccharge rule change could cause more families to go hungry & get sick, driving up #poverty & risking our country’s future prosperity: https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/10/02/homeland-security-proposal-colorado-immigrants/ Submit your comments to @DHSgov: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCIS-2010-0012 #cohealth #ProtectFamilies
  • Policies that create more sick, hungry families are bad policies. Stop the #publiccharge rule change by submitting your comments by Dec 9.


  • Forcing families to choose between getting the help they need–like health insurance and food assistance–and keeping their family together, is dangerous and irresponsible. The time to fight back against public charge is now. Submit your comments by December 9. https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCIS-2010-0012
  • Recent changes to immigration policy and practices are already forcing families to forego basic needs like food and health care. The government’s proposed change to the “public charge” rule could cause thousands of families to go hungry and lose access to basic health care, driving up poverty. Submit your comments by December 9. https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USCIS-2010-0012
  • Changing the “public charge” rule to punish immigrants seeking legal status is yet another an attack on families with limited economic opportunity and people of color, and we won’t stay silent. Early estimates show thousands of Colorado families could be impacted. Submit your comments today.
Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.