News Details

Residents encouraged to learn about proposed changes to Public Charge, connect with local experts at community forums

December 3, 2018

SOLANO COUNTY – The Solano County Department of Health and Social Services will host four community forums this week to discuss the proposed changes to the Public Charge and how they might impact residents.  The community forums will give residents an opportunity to ask questions, connect with local specialists and voice their opinion before the public comment period ends on December 10.

Public Charge is a term used in immigration law to describe someone who is likely to become dependent on the government for subsistence.  A Public Charge test is a means test used to assess a person applying for a visa to enter the United States or for lawful permanent residency (green card).  The Public Charge test does not apply to some categories of immigrants, such as refugees, persons granted asylum and certified trafficking victims.  There is no Public Charge test when individuals apply for citizenship.

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published proposed changes to the public charge rules in the Federal Register. The proposed rule changes expand the types of benefits that may be considered for "public charge" to include non-cash benefits including health coverage, food, and housing assistance.  The proposed rule change could impact many under-resourced working immigrant families.  In some cases, the proposal may lead families to unnecessarily forego critical services that they are eligible for so as not to risk their chances of becoming lawful permanent residents.

No change has gone into effect on the rule at this time.  Changing this law will take several months and a lot of things must take place first, including a 60-day comment period, ending December 10, 2018, and an administrative review of the submitted comments.  A final rule must be issued and will be deemed effective 60 days after the issuance of the final rule.

The Solano County Department of Health and Social Services, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Yolo-Solano, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Voces Unidas and Community Clinic Consortium of Contra Costa and Solano will host the following community forums in English and in Spanish, including:

English Sessions:
- Monday, December 3, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Vincent Ferrer, 925 Sacramento St. in Vallejo
- Tuesday, December 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Holy Spirit Church, 1070 N. Texas St. in Fairfield

Spanish Sessions:
- Wednesday, December 5, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Vincent Ferrer, 925 Sacramento St. in Vallejo
- Thursday, December 6, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary's, 350 Stinson Ave. in Vacaville.

Legal assistance and community resources will be available to the public at these forums.  For more information about these forums and for additional resources, visit or email