Make your voice heard for immigrant families - Oral Health Watch

By Litonya Lester, Health Policy Director and Sarah Domondon, Policy and Advocacy Associate at Children’s Alliance

Immigrant families shouldn’t have to choose between getting dental care and their stability in the U.S. But the White House’s current proposed rule on public charge have many wondering if accessing vital services will put them at risk.

Luckily organizations that care about equity in oral health can speak up against the cruel proposed rule that threatens to make existing disparities even worse. The open comment period ends December 10th!

Here’s what you need to know about the rule and how you can make your voice heard:

What is public charge? The concept of “public charge” has been a part of immigration law for more than 100 years. In order to enter the U.S. or become a permanent resident in the U.S., most immigrants, regardless of their immigration pathway, are required to prove they’re not likely to become a “public charge,” or primarily dependent on government cash assistance or institutionalized care.

What’s new about the proposed rule? The Trump Administration is seeking to radically reinterpret and expand the regulation to deny green cards to people simply for having low incomes, limited English language skills, poor credit, large families, or health conditions that make them likely to need any form of public assistance, such as health coverage through Medicaid. Even an individual’s age can be counted against them, which is especially harmful to children and seniors.

Though this change is still only a proposal, there is already widespread misinformation and a visible chilling effect in immigrant and refugee communities. If finalized, estimates show that 24 million people nationwide, including the households of 9 million children, would decline crucial healthcare and food supports for which they’re eligible out of fear of jeopardizing their immigration status.

Make your voice heard! Submit comments by December 10th!

To fight back against changes to public charge, more than 55 agencies including health providers, faith communities, child and family services, and others came together to form Protecting Immigrant Families-Washington. When a new regulation is proposed, the administration must give the public an opportunity to comment. A large number of unique comments are a powerful way that communities can work to stop these proposals from becoming law.

Anyone, regardless of immigration status, can make a comment online. Commenters’ first and last names are required. You can also submit a comment on behalf of another person. Comments must be unique in content to avoid being automatically filtered out.

How to submit comments


By mail

  • Download a Protecting Immigrant Families-Washington’s comment forms in Englishand Spanish

Additional resources in a wide variety of resources can be found on the national Protecting Immigrant Familieswebsite.

For more information contact Sarah Domondon at

Arcora Foundation
400 Fairview Avenue North, Suite 800
Seattle, WA 98109
Oral Health Watch does not provide dental care and cannot provide direct referrals. To find dental care in your area, please visit our resources page. Please contact Oral Health Watch for more information about our programs and oral health in Washington State