Clicking Here will take you to Google, remember to hide your tracks
STATUS: Concluded

Use your voice to tell the U.S. government that the new rule expanding the definition of “public charge” unjustly punishes survivors of gender-based violence.

By law, in order to get a Green card, certain applicants[i] must show that they are not likely to become a “public charge.”   Current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy only allows DHS to consider an applicant’s dependence on cash assistance or government-funded long-term institutional care when making a “public charge” determination.

Under the proposed new rule, DHS will consider a Green card applicant’s use of a broader range of benefits such as food stamps, non-emergency Medicaid, and housing vouchers to determine whether she is likely to be a public charge. As a result, many survivors of violence will forgo critical, life-saving assistance for themselves and their children to avoid risking denial of their Green card applications.  Some may even feel forced to remain in violent homes, dependent on their abusers, to avoid triggering the “public charge” bar. The new rule unfairly punishes survivors who are simply trying to get back on their feet while they work toward self-sufficiency.

Before the rule can be finalized, the government is required to review and respond to each public comment submitted by organizations or individuals about the proposed regulation. This is your chance to make your voice heard.

Below is a sample comment.  However, it is critical that you DO NOT simply copy and paste the model comment into the form you submit. The government will only review and respond to unique comments.  Please reformulate the text, adding your own voice, professional expertise, and personal experiences or those of people you know, to explain why expanding the definition of “public charge” will harm survivors of violence.


All public comments are due by December 10, 2018 at 11:59 ET.

After you have submitted your comment, please let Tahirih know that you commented.

Confirmation of comment submission on public charge

Please confirm that you submitted a comment to



I am writing in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds”, published in the Federal Register on October 10, 2018. I strongly oppose the proposed rule for the following reasons.

[Insert your own points as to why you oppose the rule. For example:

The proposal by the Administration will undoubtedly deter survivors from accessing basic health services including prenatal care through Medicaid. These services are essential to preventing both maternal and infant mortality.  The rule will also result in more costly and inefficient emergency room visits. It is well-documented that survivors face dire threats to their health and safety both acutely and over the long-term.  No law or policy should categorically discourage survivors from accessing critical, life-saving services.

Legal remedies designed specifically for immigrant survivors exempt them from the “public charge” Green card bar.  However, abusers commonly manipulate and isolate survivors to keep them unaware of these remedies, and to keep them from speaking with attorneys or others who can help them.  Survivors might apply for a Green card through other means, and unnecessarily forgo benefits out of fear of jeopardizing their applications.  Survivors who are dependent on abusers for food and housing are at particular risk of remaining in abusive homes for a prolonged period of time.]

DHS should withdraw this proposal, and instead promote policies to further the well-being and best interests of traumatized immigrant women and children.


Please do not copy and paste the comment above; use your own words, experience, and expertise to create a unique comment. 



[i] Those applying for Green cards as asylees, trafficking survivors, battered spouses, and victims of crime are exempt from the “public charge” bar.  Those applying for a Green card through other means are subject to the bar.

Do Something!

Tell the U.S. Government the new "public charge" rule unfairly punishes survivors who are simply trying to get back on their feet while they work toward self-sufficiency.