Public Charge Final Rule Is Another Attack on Immigrants; Will Hurt Public Health Efforts to End HIV and Hepatitis


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Public Charge Final Rule Is Another Attack on Immigrants; Will Hurt Public Health Efforts to End HIV and Hepatitis

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) leadership weighs in on its impact

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced the final “public charge” rule. The rule – which is set to go into effect on October 15, 2019 – will make it harder for legal immigrants to enter this country or to obtain a green card by requiring immigrants to demonstrate that they have not used or will not use an array of public benefits, including Medicaid and SNAP. The rule abandons a longstanding limited public charge determination in favor of a sweeping new policy that heavily disfavors individuals with a serious medical condition or disability or with low income.

“The final rule will harm people of color across the country. The final rule ignores the hundreds of thousands of public comments asking DHS to rescind its blatant attack on immigrant communities and enshrines pernicious anti-immigration rhetoric into federal regulation. The rule not only makes it more difficult for people living with HIV, hepatitis, and other chronic conditions to enter this country or apply for a green card, but it has also had a much broader chilling effect on access to a range of public health and healthcare services beyond the scope of the rule,” noted NASTAD Acting Executive Director Terrance Moore.  “This represents yet another assault on immigrant communities from this Administration and an escalation of dangerous rhetoric that is having profound individual and public health consequences. It is also at odds with any meaningful effort to end the HIV and hepatitis epidemics in this country.” 

“Our country is built on the principle that it is stronger because of the immigrants that make it up, a value that this rule ignores. NASTAD will work to ensure that all immigrant communities continue to have access to vital public health and healthcare services,” Moore concluded.


Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. and around the world. Our singular mission is to end the intersecting epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis, and related conditions. We do this work by strengthening domestic and global governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.