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Our Public Charge Story

Our Public Charge Story (1)

What is the public charge rule?

Since the 1880s, US immigration law has contained a provision, the public charge rule, which was aimed at excluding “any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.”

In recent history a person was considered a public charge if they were primarily dependent on the federal government for subsistence. Since 1999, “primarily dependent” has been defined as someone who “received federal, state, or local cash assistance for income maintenance or were institutionalized for long-term care at government expense.” In 2019, the Trump Administration attempted to use the public charge rule as another barrier to entry for those seeking a better life in this country.

Our public charge Story: Why does the Workers Circle care?

In 1900, the Workers Circle was founded by Yiddish-speaking Eastern European immigrants who came to the US with little or nothing in their pockets. They would have been considered a public charge, and certainly wouldn’t have been able to get to America if Trump’s proposed changes to the public charge rule were in effect.

As an organization that champions the rights and well-being of immigrants and fights for economic justice, we agree with Judge George B. Daniels of the New York Federal District Court. In his ruling blocking the implementation of the Trump public charge rule, he called it, “…repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility.”

We’re taking action to end this racist wealth test! Check out highlights from our ongoing campaign below:

Ann Toback Queens Daily Eagle op-ed: ‘Public charge’ could be public health catastrophe
Ann Toback’s New York Times Letter to the Editor: “Another Setback for Immigrants”
The Workers Circle Condemns Trump’s Draconian Changes to Public Charge
The Workers Circle one pager on the public charge rule
Ann Toback’s AM Metro New York op-ed