The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Resources for Advising Low-Income Immigrant Clients re Benefits and Rights, Survey of Issues/Concerns

We've gotten a number of inquiries from Coalition members about the rights, protections and benefits available to immigrant-headed households.  We know these are uncertain times and there is a significant amount of fear and confusion out there. We also know that the media has leaked information about a draft Executive Order regarding immigrant uses of public benefits. This EO has NOT been issued. There is NO change in the federal and state laws with respect to benefits available, public charge, reporting of immigrants. State agencies are required to follow the laws governing these programs, including strict privacy and confidentiality provisions. 

MLRI hosted an Immigrants/Benefits training on March 30th at MCLE where we presented the following information:

  • how immigrants get status, and how to read immigrant documents to identify their status
  • what food, health and cash benefits immigrants qualify for
  • core "know your rights" information should your immigrant clients or your local agency be approached by ICE
  •  basic language access rights.

Here's a webpage with the materials we provided at the training: /content/immigrants-and-public-benefits-bbt-training-and-resource-materials We will continue to upload more materials as they are developed. We have also attached three documents that may be of immediate use from DTA and Dept of Public Health. Translations are also available if you follow the weblink for more resources above.

We have created a SURVEY for community organizations to share stories they are hearing from clients (no client identifying information needed).  Please fill out this survey as you hear from clients.

Vicky Negus, Pat Baker and our MLRI colleagues are happy to answer your immigrant and benefits questions as they come up and assist you with referrals as needed. Attached are some fliers from DTA and DPH that also reinforce current state policy on protecting client confidentiality and on non-cash benefits and public charge. 

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