Resource: Baltimore v. Trump

By: Democracy Forward

May 15, 2020

Democracy Forward Foundation

In January 2018, the Trump Administration made an unlawful, under-the-radar change to the State Department’s definition of “public charge,” a provision in immigration law that limits who may come to the United States. Specifically, the State Department amended the Foreign Affairs Manual to allow consular officers to consider whether visa applicants or their family members, including their U.S. citizen family members, have received non-cash benefits. Non-cash benefits include essential public programs like free school lunches, public health vaccinations, and Head Start. The State Department provided no prior notice of this change, nor any explanation for why it decided to deviate from the decades-old definition of public charge which explicitly prohibited consular officers from considering the use of such programs. We’re suing in partnership with the City of Baltimore.