For months now, NLSLA advocates have been hearing from immigrants fearful of proposed changes to federal law, which could redefine who is considered a “public charge”—or taxpayer burden—in the eyes of immigration officials.

“People are panicked, and they’re afraid their reliance on Medi-Cal and food stamps could impact their residency applications if the changes take effect,” said NLSLA’s Lili Choi, who participated in a town hall hosted by AltaMed in East Los Angeles College to provide accurate information about the coming changes and encourage community members to keep their benefits.

NLSLA is working with the Los Angeles County Office of Immigration Affairs, leading efforts to educate immigrants about public charge issues, and to let partner organizations and impacted communities know the proposed changes—which are still in the consideration phase, and have yet to become law—will not be applied retroactively.

“Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation in the community, and people are unnecessarily dropping critical benefits because they fear they could be deported of face other legal consequences,” Choi said.

Read more about the town hall and NLSLA’s efforts here