U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Announces COVID-19 Treatment in Relation to Public Charge

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  announced that the agency will NOT consider “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19” in a public charge determination “even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits.” This announcement falls short of a much-needed public education campaign to ensure that individuals are not afraid to access life saving care because of potential immigration consequences.

USCIS shared this alert on March 13 – “Alert: USCIS encourages all those, including aliens, with symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services. Such treatment or preventive services will not negatively affect any alien as part of a future Public Charge analysis.” Read more.

The Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign shares resources for knowing immigrants rights. The PIF  Campaign also recommends against proactively connecting coronavirus and public charge. In light of efforts by anti-immigrant activists to link immigration with infectious disease, they prefer to focus communication elsewhere. Here are their recommendations for messaging to different audiences.

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