Standing on Their Own Two Feet: How the New Public Charge Rules Could Impact Non-European LPR Applicants

Kendal Lowrey, Jennifer Van Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In February 2020, the U.S. government began to implement a new Public Charge rule that greatly expands the definition of “public charge” when determining admissibility for legal permanent residency (LPR). The rule seeks to determine not only whether applicants used public benefits in the past, but also whether they are likely to use them in the future. However, predicting future use based on characteristics measured at the time of application, such as English language proficiency and income, is difficult. We evaluate the risk of being deemed inadmissible as well as the likelihood of using public assistance by regional group. Using a sample of recently arrived LPRs in the 2013–2017 American Community Survey, we find that Mexicans/Central Americans face disproportionate risk of being deemed a public charge despite their relatively low public assistance use. This increased risk would likely alter the composition of newly admitted LPRs with relatively fewer Mexican/Central American LPRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-582
Number of pages24
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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