Public Charge

"Public Charge" Rule: Trump Administration Action Targeting Immigrant Families

On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a stay of the last remaining nationwide injunction, leaving only an injunction that covers the State of Illinois in effect. This is not a final decision on the merits and the County will continue its lawsuit challenging the rule. The Rule does not apply to most immigrants and to many benefits, but the County urges residents to seek legal advice to determine what impact the rule might have on them. 

County Counsel's statement regarding the Supreme Court's order is available here​.

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The County encourages residents to consult with legal service providers when making decisions for themselves and their families. Many immigrants are not subject to any DHS public charge assessment at all, including lawful permanent residents (green-card holders) unless they leave the country for more than 180 days; individuals applying for asylum or refugee status; and many other immigrants. And many benefits also are not implicated by the rule (neither use of WIC nor CHIP is considered under the new rule). The County funds the following organizations that provide free or low-cost legal advice on immigration and public benefits.

  • Bay Area Legal Aid: (408) 850-7066 English, Spanish
  • Asian Law Alliance: (408) 287-9710 English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, Spanish
  • Law Foundation: (408) 293-4790 * English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, and more
    *Law Foundation does not specialize in immigration law but encourages individuals to call with questions about using public benefits.​

​On August 13, 2019, the County of Santa Clara, along with the City and County of San Francisco, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to invalidate the new "public charge" rule that allows the federal government to deny entry or green cards to legal immigrants for using certain assistance programs, like non-emergency Medicaid or food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

On August 28, 2019, the County of Santa Clara and the City and County of San Francisco filed a joint motion for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing or enforcing its new "public charge" rule. The injunction would prevent the unlawful rule from causing widespread harm to the County public health, health and hospital systems, and economy. ​


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