Public Charge Rule Study

SJV Public Charge Rule Study (2018) Public Charge Rule Resources

 

Background

The San Joaquin Valley (SJV) is located in the center of California. It is a hub for a thriving agricultural economy, as well as other industries, and has a long history of immigrants and refugees settling in its cities and towns. This is reflected by the more than 100 languages spoken across the region. While its cities and towns are diverse, socioeconomic and health disparities exist across its communities. These challenges include access to health care, food security, and high levels of poverty.

SJV Counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and Tulare

Population Estimate: 4,219,854

Public Charge Rule: On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published proposed changes on the Federal Register to “public charge” rules that could potentially disqualify many immigrants from obtaining US citizenship. The proposal calls for DHS to define a public charge as “an alien who receives one or more public benefits.” The proposed rule seeks to add an individual's past use of non-cash programs (such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing programs, and non-emergency Medi-Cal (Medicaid in California)) to the public charge test and exempting fully state or local funded programs. Additionally, having a household income above 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) would be a heavily weighted positive factor, while a household income below 125% of FPG would be a negative. Within the SJV region, where there is a high number of undocumented immigrants, children that have at least one immigrant parent, and a large number of individuals who receive benefits in the proposed rule, this action would be detrimental.

Update: Changes to the Public Charge Rules became effective on February 24, 2020. For information about these changes, please see the list of resources at the bottom of the page.

Objective: Estimate the number of individuals potentially impacted by the proposed public charge rule by county in the San Joaquin Valley.

 Top

Methods

A variety of publicly available secondary data sources were collected for this study. We collected the most recent data available. The 2017, 5-year estimate, American Community Survey (ACS) was used to describe poverty, children living with foreign-born parent(s), citizenship, and demographic characteristics. CalFresh (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in California) data were obtained from the California Department of Social Services caseload projections. The California Department of Health Care Services County Certified Eligibles as of May 2018 report was used to collect data on certified Medi-Cal eligibility excluding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion for adults ages 19 to 64.

Statistical Analysis: We estimate the number of persons aged 0 to 64 in the SJV who are not US citizens using ACS 2017 data proportion of non-citizens and who are eligible for Medi-Cal services by county with Medi-Cal Certified Eligibles May 2018 data. Then the number of persons aged 0 to 64 who were eligible for Medi-Cal was multiplied by the proportion of non US Citizens in each county (ACS 2017) to estimate the number of persons who are eligible for Medi-Cal and who are not US Citizens. 

 Top

Findings

Figure 1

Percentage of non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. Citizens via Naturalization by County, San Joaquin Valley

 

Figure 1 illustrates the percentage of the population living below 125% of the FPG by zip code, SJV, 2017

  • The SJV is one of the most impoverished regions in the country
  • More than 50% of the population in Tulare County fall below 125% of the FPG 

Top

Figure 2. Percentage of non U.S. Citizens and U.S. Citizens via Naturalization by County, San Joaquin Valley, 2017

Percentage of non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. Citizens via Naturalization by County, San Joaquin Valley

Figure 2 illustrates the proportion of the population that are non U.S. Citizens and those who are U.S. citizens through the naturalization process.

  • Although the SJV does not have higher rates of non U.S. citizens than the rest of the state, a large proportion of the populations uses public assistance services
  • Approximately 15.7% of the population in Merced are non-U.S. citizens, the highest rate in the SJV
  • San Joaquin County has the lowest rate of non U.S. citizens at 11%
  • San Joaquin County has the largest proportion of U.S. citizens by naturalization at 12%
  • Kings County has the lowest rate of U.S. citizens via naturalization at 7%

Top

Figure 3. Percentage of Children Living with a Foreign-born Parent(s), San Joaquin Valley, 2017

Percentage of Children Living with a Foreign-born Parent(s), San Joaquin Valley, 2017

Figure 3
illustrates the percentage of children living with at least one foreign-born parent by county, SJV, 2017

  • Merced County has the largest proportion of children living with at least one foreign-born parent at 53%
  • Kings County has the lowest percentage of children living with at least one foreign-born parent at 38%
  • All six other counties in the San Joaquin Valley have more than 40% of children living with a foreign-born parent

Top

Figure 4. Percentage of Population Using CalFresh and Medi-Cal, SJV, 2017

 Percentage of Population Using CalFresh and Medi-Cal, SJV, 2017

Figure 4
illustrates the proportion of the population that use CalFresh (SNAP in California), are eligible for Medi-Cal (Medicaid in California), and children living with at least one foreign-born parent.

  • About half of the population is eligible for Medi-Cal
  • Tulare County has the highest percentage of eligible populations with more than 50%
  • Nearly 2 million individuals within the SJV, who are eligible for Medi-Cal, could potentially be affected by the recent changes to the Public Charge Rule (February 24, 2020)
  • Nearly 50% of the population in Fresno County is eligible for Medi-Cal
  • The county with the lowest proportion of Medi-Cal Eligibles is Kings, at 39%
  • CalFresh services in Fresno, Merced, and Tulare are utilized by at least 20% of the populations

 Top

Table 1. Percentage of Nativity and Citizenship Status by Poverty and County, San Joaquin Valley, 2017

 

Income in the past 12 months below poverty level

Income in the past 12 months above poverty level

County

US Citizen Native

US Citizen Naturalized

Non US Citizen foreign-born

US Citizen Native

US Citizen Naturalized

Non US Citizen foreign-born

Fresno

15.8%

1.4%

3.9%

63.4%

7.1%

8.4%

Kern

17.5%

1.0%

3.0%

62.7%

5.9%

9.9%

Kings

12.6%

0.6%

4.9%

66.6%

6.1%

9.2%

Madera

17.0%

1.2%

4.4%

61.7%

6.9%

8.7%

Merced

18.2%

1.2%

4.4%

56.6%

8.2%

11.4%

San Joaquin

12.0%

1.6%

1.9%

64.8%

10.6%

9.2%

Stanislaus

10.4%

1.1%

2.0%

67.9%

9.1%

9.5%

Tulare

18.4%

1.4%

4.8%

59.5%

6.3%

9.7%

Table 1 shows the percentage of individuals living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) by citizenship status and county.

  • The majority of the population lives above the FPL and are native US citizens
  • Among those living below the FPL, the largest proportion of individuals are US native citizens
  • Across all the SJV counties, on average, less than 5% of the population are living below the FPL and are foreign-born, non US citizens

 Top

Table 2. Estimated Number of Persons 0 to 64 Potentially impacted by the Proposed Public Charge Rule, SJV, 2019

County

Number of persons 0 to 64 eligible for Medi-Cal

% non US-Citizen

Estimate of Persons

Percent    

Fresno

335,284

12.2%

40,905

23.8%

Kern

292,137

12.7%

37,101

21.6%

Kings

40,478

14.0%

5,667

3.3%

Madera

50,821

13.0%

6,607

3.8%

Merced

95,582

15.7%

15,006

8.7%

San Joaquin

199,495

11.0%

21,944

12.8%

Stanislaus

162,121

11.5%

18,644

10.8%

Tulare

181,601

14.3%

25,969

15.1%

Total

   

171,843

100.0%

Table 2 shows the number of persons 0 to 64 who are eligible for Medi-Cal, the % of non US Citizens, and the estimated number of individuals who could potentially be impacted by the proposed rule change.

  • In the SJV, approximately 171,843 reported individuals ages 0-64 could potentially be impacted by the proposal
  • Among Medi-Cal Eligibles, age 0 to 64, Fresno and Kern Counties have the largest populations and proportions of estimated persons vulnerable to the recent changes to the public charge rule

Top

Conclusion

  • Although the SJV does not have higher rates of non U.S. citizens than the rest of the state, a large proportion of the populations use public assistance services
  • All counties, with the exception of Kings County, have more than 40% of children living with a foreign-born parent in the SJV
  • The majority of the population lives above the federal poverty level and are native US citizens
  • Among those living below the federal poverty level, the largest proportion of individuals are US native citizens
  • Across all the SJV counties, on average, less than 5% of the population are living below the federal poverty level and are foreign-born non US citizens
  • In the SJV, approximately 172,000 reported individuals ages 0-64 could potentially be impacted by the proposal

 Top

Public Charge Rule Resources

Fresno State Dream Success Center

Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)

LawhelpCA.org-- Public Charge

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation 

 

Top