Eugene Lau, Communications Manager; 415-274-6750 x319 (English, Cantonese), Jin Xia Niu, Chinese Language Media Specialist; 415-274-6750 x313 (English, Mandarin)
January 28, 2020
Press Statement

CAA Urges Immigrants to Stay Informed and Unite Against Harmful Public Charge Policies

San Francisco, CA — CAA is disappointed in Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that enabled the Trump Administration to implement the expanded public charge rule. The policy is widely contested and, while the Supreme Court’s decision lifted the injunctions on procedural grounds, ongoing litigation continues. Final decisions from the Supreme Court on the validity of the program is anticipated in March.

The “public charge” test is a set of guidelines the government considers when determining whether immigrants could become dependent on government assistance. The proposed changes will likely impact a narrow segment of immigrants who are seeking to adjust their status in the U.S. Although limited in scope, the expanded rule has the potential to restructure our immigration system in favor of the wealthy by falsely creating fear and confusion to deter low-income immigrant families from accessing necessary public benefits.

The decision is preliminary, but will put into effect the harmful policies to penalize immigrant families for accessing life-saving programs and public benefits. CAA urges community members to stay informed and seek consultation from trusted providers and attorneys before making any decision regarding their families’ health and future.

“All immigrants regardless of their wealth and status are deserving of dignity, compassion, and reunification with their loved ones. And we believe those to be our principles as a community and of our immigration system. The Administration’s effort to refashion a relic of racist xenophobia highlights its own political agenda to demonize immigrants and reinforce problematic stereotypes about poor communities of color and people with disabilities,” states Amy Lin, CAA’s Immigrant Rights Co-Program Manager.

Communities and advocates responded with unequivocal resistance and solidarity through public comments and lawsuits, and blocked the expanded rules from taking effect since 2019.

CAA’s Director of Advocacy, Hong Mei Pang, states, “This decision is a temporary setback in our fight against public charge rule change. We will continue to stand with immigrant communities, and vocalize our opposition to any efforts that seek to criminalize low-income communities of color, especially those who are already vulnerable under this Administration, and people with disabilities.”

CAA has been partnering with local government and community-based organizations since the policy was published to ensure that immigrant families understand their rights and can effectively manage their risks by accessing legal services in San Francisco.

We urge community members to consult trusted providers and attorneys with any re-consideration of life-saving programs, such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh (SNAP) in fear of negative immigration consequences.

Community members who are interested in learning more are encouraged to contact CAA’s Immigrant Rights program at 415.761.3222 for general inquiry and legal referrals regarding how the public charge final rule might affect them.


Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco.  Our mission is to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial injustice.


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