The Biden Administration Rolls Back Trump’s Public Charge Rule, Protecting Immigrant Families

The Biden administration took an important step toward protecting the health and well-being of immigrant families this week, ending the Trump administration’s disastrous public charge rule. As a result, immigrant families and their children can now access the health, nutrition, and housing supports they need without fear of the immigration consequences.

The Trump administration’s public charge rule, which went into effect last year, violated our nation’s most basic commitments to equality and opportunity. By imposing a wealth test on families applying for lawful permanent residency and discriminating against families of color, the rule spread fear and distrust and caused lasting harm to families and communities. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the nation, researchers have documented that many immigrant families have avoided critical health and economic supports, including SNAP and Medicaid, for fear that accessing these programs might affect  their immigration status or that of a loved one under Trump’s mean-spirited public charge policy.

The Biden administration’s decision to stop defending the rule, which has been the subject of ongoing litigation, led federal courts to dismiss the appeals, permanently blocking it nationwide. On March 9 the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will follow the longstanding public charge policy before Trump’s changes, making it safe for immigrants and their families to access health, nutrition, and housing programs for which they are eligible. 

“We applaud the Biden administration for taking this step to undo a draconian and anti-immigrant policy,” said CSSP President Judith Meltzer. “There is a great deal of work ahead to repair the damage caused by President Trump’s racist attacks on immigrant families and communities and to move forward with positive reform of our immigration practices. We look forward to the Biden administration continuing to take bold action to ensure that immigrant children and families can access the supports and services they need and thrive together.”

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at