One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Reported Avoiding Public Benefit Programs in 2018

Author: 
Hamutal Bernstein, Dulce Gonzalez, Michael Karpman & Stephen Zuckerman
Date of Publication: 
May, 2019
Source Organization: 
The Urban Institute

In October 2018, after months of anticipation, the U.S. administration published a proposed rule altering “public charge” determinations that would make it harder for immigrants to get a green card. After a public comment period that closed in December, the rule is being finalized. If implemented, the rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if they have received certain noncash public benefits or have low incomes or other characteristics considered to increase their likelihood of using benefits in the future.

Beyond reducing future immigration numbers, there is widespread concern this revised public charge rule would have “chilling effects” on low-income immigrant families by discouraging them from applying for and receiving public benefits for which they are eligible, for fear of risking future green card status.

In this brief, the authors use data from the December 2018 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey to provide the first systematic evidence on the extent of chilling effects among immigrant families before release of a final public charge rule.

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Citation: 

Bernstein, H., Gonzalez, D., Karpman, M. & Zuckerman, S. (2019). One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Reported Avoiding Public Benefit Programs in 2018. The Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/100270/one_in_seven_adults_in_immigrant_families_reported_avoiding_publi_4.pdf

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