Applying for Permanent Residency? Your Child’s School Lunch Will Not Affect You.

Public schools across the state have an important message for immigrant students and their parents. Despite fears over a recent Supreme Court ruling, public school attendance or use of the school lunch program will not affect a family’s application for permanent residency.

In a 5-4 decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to move forward with new immigration rules that could discourage immigrants from seeking public assistance. The administration’s new policy expands the definition of “public charge,” a legal term used to describe immigrants who are primarily dependent on government assistance. Under U.S. law, these individuals can be denied visas, green cards, or permanent residency.

“We are dismayed and disappointed to learn that the United States Supreme Court has upheld the new public charge rule change,” Oakland Unified representative John Sasaki said. “One point we must stress is that the change to the public charge rule does NOT apply to children who are accessing public education or the free and reduced price lunches that schools provide.”

Sasaki’s statement was echoed by officials from the Los Angeles Unified, San Francisco Unified, Berkeley Unified, Alameda, and Sonoma school districts.

But the fear may have already set in. California Department of Education Spokesman Jonathan Mendick told the Record-Bee there was an 11% drop in participation for the Summer Food Service Program after the change was announced.

“While we cannot say this is solely due to public charge, it is fair to say it has contributed,” he added. 

Read more at the Record-Bee