About OpenKnowledge@NAU | For NAU Authors

Impact of the Trump Administration's Modification to the Public Charge Rule on Perceptions of Immigrants' Behavior

Annorbah, Rebecca (2021) Impact of the Trump Administration's Modification to the Public Charge Rule on Perceptions of Immigrants' Behavior. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

[thumbnail of Annorbah_2021_impact_trump_administrations_modification_public_charge_.pdf] Text
Annorbah_2021_impact_trump_administrations_modification_public_charge_.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (619kB) | Request a copy


The public charge rule that prohibited entry of any person unable to take care of himself or herself without depending on public benefits has been in existence since 1882. It was last modified in 1999 before it’s modification in February 2020 by the administration of Donald Trump. The Trump administration’s modification to the rule expanded the public benefits whose use could be used to deny upgrading of immigrant visa status. Under the modified rule, a foreign national is defined as likely to become a public charge if they use public benefits such as cash assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and public housing benefits. This study seeks to determine if, from the perspective of social service personnel who engage with immigrants, nonimmigrants, and mixed-status families, the Trump administration’s modification to the public charge rule has affected immigrants’ behaviors. The research reported here is based on open-ended, qualitative interviews administered to a purposive sample of ten social service personnel. To the best of my knowledge, the study is the first to examine the experience of social service personnel working with immigrants, as compared to previous studies that sampled immigrants rather than those who serve them. The study revealed that, from social service personnel’s perspective, after the change in the public charge rule, immigrants avoided using public benefits out to fear of becoming a public charge and consequently denied a green card. This fear led some immigrants and mixed-status families to withdraw or not apply for public benefits even when needed. Of greater concern to respondents is the withdrawal of US-born children from public benefits. This study can serve as a guide to creating immigration policies that minimize immigrant fear of reprisal for using public services and will allow them to apply and use public benefits legally available for them and/or their children.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Health seeking behavior; Immigrants; Immigration; Public charge rule; Public policy; Trump Administration
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Criminology and Criminal Justice
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 16:29
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 16:29
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5713

Actions (login required)

IR Staff Record View IR Staff Record View


Downloads per month over past year