As of 1/25/2021
COVID-19 and Public Charge
- On March 13th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that testing, preventive screening (vaccine potential), and treatment for COVID-19 will not negatively affect any immigrant during a future public charge analysis. This means USCIS has policies in place to enable immigrant families to receive holistic COVID-19 care without it impacting inadmissibility determination.
- Access USCIS’s official statement on undocumented individuals seeking COVID-19 care here and DC.gov’s public charge FAQ page here.
- Immigrant Eligibility for Public Programs During COVID-19 (last updated 4/6/2020)
- Provides an overview of eligibility and public charge implications of public benefits programs available during COVID-19, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Access to Healthcare
- Based on USCIS’s statement, undocumented families, even those who desire applying for documentation in the future, can and should seek testing and treatment for COVID-19, as doing so is public charge exempt and bears some legal protection.
- For free/low-cost testing locations, see our How to Get Testing page.
- You can seek treatment for COVID-19 and other conditions without medical insurance through the ACA, which allows certain healthcare settings to serve the uninsured. Examples are emergency room visits, community and migrant health centers, free clinics, and public hospitals. Find a free/low-cost community health center in the D.C. region here.
- Additionally, those with D.C. addresses who do not qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for alternate D.C.-based health insurance programs:
- Pregnant women, regardless of documentation status, are eligible to receive COVID-19 care in some states, D.C. being one of them.
- Important reminders
- Your doctor is required to maintain patient confidentiality which means you don’t need to share information about immigration status with them unless you apply for Medicaid or other health coverage.
- You can enter hospitals and other healthcare settings safely without fearing ICE intervention in these areas. Federal guidelines prohibit immigration agents from conducting law enforcement actions at healthcare facilities.
- If you feel your rights or the rights of someone else have been violated, please consider filing an immigration enforcement civil rights complaint here.
Nonprofit and Mutual Aid Resources
- DMV COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants, including numbers for ward-specific multilingual mutual aid hotlines (via Sanctuary DMV)
- Spanish version here
- Food resources
- Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) provides support for community organizing and advocacy efforts, holds “Know Your Rights” trainings, and more