In U.S. immigration policy, a person may be designated a "public charge" (PC) if s/he is dependent upon government assistance. PC designation may preclude an immigrant from achieving citizenship. Traditionally, health benefits (e.g., Medicaid) were excluded from PC evaluations. Moreover, dependent(s) could participate in public programs without that participation weighing against the immigrant. Current proposals seek to change the rule. To avoid a PC designation, some immigrant parents will likely avoid public health insurance for their children. Using the American Community Survey we investigate the number and share of children in California counties who are at risk of opting out of public programs if the rule changes. Grouping data based on child and parent citizenship, we evaluate participation in public programs to estimate the number and share of children who would be at risk of quitting programs to avoid parental PC designation. We illustrate results using maps and other visualizations.
Presented in Session 123. Flash Session: Geospatial Analysis in Applied Demography