University of California President Janet Napolitano issued the following statement today (August 12): 

Today’s decision by the Trump administration to expand the definition of “public charge” sends a detrimental message internationally — that the United States does not want other countries to send their best and brightest here to study and add to the intellectual exchange at our universities, to conduct important research, and to contribute substantially to our economy, among other things.

This rule also means that a number of UC students and other California residents, out of an abundance of caution, may be reluctant to seek available assistance such as preventative health care, housing opportunities, and nutrition education and benefits.

The bottom line: The decision today penalizes and chills much-needed access to vital benefits for which lawful immigrants or mixed-status families are eligible, and not only leads to harmful, unintended consequences but also raises questions about the true intent behind the federal government’s unnecessary and misguided action.