Immigration Status & Public Charge


TPS clinic available for Haitian, Venezuelan and Ukrainian applicants.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 22, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

The Breakdown

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted to foreign nationals when they are unable to return to their home country due to extreme conditions such as those caused by war, environmental disaster or other extraordinary situations. The US recently designated TPS for:
  • Due to extreme processing delays, the Biden Administration has issued this temporary rule authorizing an 18-month automatic employment authorization extension for people with EADs. This includes, but not limited to, people who are refugees, asylees, or have temporary protected status. More about eligibility categories here.
  • On November 16, 2021, USCIS published an interagency letter restating the end to the 2019 public charge rule. As a result, the items on this non exhaustive list are no longer considered public charge:
    • SNAP (food stamps)
    • Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization)
    • Public housing
    • Section 8
  • Immigration court case information is available online with a 9-digit alien registration number (A-#########) or by calling the Executive Office of Administration Review at 1-800-898-7180.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not conduct enforcement activities at COVID-19 vaccine sites.
    • ICE already has an existing general commitment not to engage in enforcement activities near “sensitive locations” such as hospitals or clinics. 
    • ICE will also not conduct civil enforcement actions at courthouses except in limited circumstances.  
  • Case processing times have been impacted by the pandemic and staffing. Use the USCIS look-up tool for the latest on the processing time for applications.  
  • On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the end to the 2019 public charge rule.
  • Afghan and Ukrainian humanitarian parolees are eligible for federal benefits such as SNAP, SSI, TANF. Humanitarian parole is a special immigration status and not all who receive this status are eligible for benefits. More information can be found here.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help families navigate the limited immigration-related resources available in RI and help to demystify the evolving immigration policy landscape, especially as it relates to public charge. You can help demystify the changes by sharing resources such as the Protecting Immigrant Family Coalition update.