Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA) and Richard Whipple, Acting Director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA), issued the following statement regarding the Biden Administration’s announcement that it is replacing former President Trump’s “public charge” rule. That rule had expanded the types of benefits the federal government could consider when evaluating an immigrant’s application for permanent residency or entry into the country. President Biden’s Administration ended the Trump-era policy over a year ago, and is now replacing it with a new public charge rule that adds more protections for immigrants. It is important for community members to know that the use of Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and public housing benefits will not block one’s immigration pathway.
“President Trump’s push to expand the public charge rule was an unconscionable attack on our immigrant communities. It was purposefully designed to scare and deter immigrants from seeking support from the government.
President Biden ended the Trump-era rule over a year ago, and now has announced a new rule that adds protections for immigrants.
As we continue to grapple with public health issues and an uncertain economic situation, community members need to know that health, food, and housing programs are safe to use and cannot be considered in the public charge test. These life-saving benefits have no bearing on whether an immigrant is eligible to become a legal permanent resident or a United States citizen. We encourage everyone who needs support to seek services at the San Francisco Human Services Agency. If people have questions about how these services may affect their immigration status, contact the Bay Area Legal Aid Free Advice Line at (800) 551-5554.
The City and County of San Francisco has been at the forefront of fighting to protect immigrants – in the court and in the community. We are grateful that President Biden has fully reversed the Trump Administration’s shameful actions.
We will continue to defend the rights of all our immigrant residents. San Francisco has been – and always will be – a proud Sanctuary City.