National WIC Association

Update on WIC and Public Charge

May 11, 2018

As we reported in late March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent its draft public charge rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Under this proposed rule, an immigrant’s use of WIC and/or other benefit programs would affect that immigrant’s ability to obtain a visa, green card, or legal permanent residency. OMB has yet to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), but it is expected that it will be published within the next few weeks. Once this happens, there will be a comment period (likely 60 days), after which DHS will review comments and issue a final rule. As a reminder, until the rule is finalized, the public charge test remains unaltered, and WIC clinics should reassure immigrant families that WIC policy has not changed.

NWA had the opportunity to meet last week with administration officials to express our grave concerns with this proposed rule. In addition, we have been crafting our organizational comments that we will submit to DHS once the NPRM is published by OMB. When this happens, we will provide model comments (as well as guidance and support) to you so that you can submit your own comments to DHS. Please be on the lookout for these model comments.

In the meantime, we wanted to share with you some updated resources on this issue:

Also, if you have witnessed any changes in your state or region in the last two months related to this issue (i.e. cancelled appointments, voluntary withdrawals from the program, attempts to return benefits, etc.) we urge you to report these to us using this survey. Anecdotes from local agencies are very important to us as we continue to push back against the administration’s attempts to limit immigrants’ access to WIC.

Thank you as always for your commitment to protecting and strengthening WIC!