Immigrant Issues

Our state and our country are defined by the immigrant experience. Most of our ancestors were immigrants who came to the United States to seek a better life, escape persecution, and build thriving communities. New immigrants continue to be a vital part of the Rhode Island community.

The Economic Progress Institute recognizes that immigrants and immigration play a large role in the Ocean State's economy and our future. We believe that broadly shared prosperity means that all Rhode Islanders, regardless of their immigration status, should have equal access to resources and economic opportunities that allow them to achieve their full potential.

This page provides information for and resources available to Rhode Island immigrant communities.


Public Charge

Under the Trump administration, changes to public charge rules caused many in immigrant communities to fear seeking and applying for health care and other forms of assistance to meet basic needs. As of March 2021, these public charge rules have changed. The factsheet below (updated on September 2021) explains what these changes mean for individuals with various immigration statuses.


Public Charge: Does this Apply to Me? (ENGLISH/SPANISH)

Please especially note that receipt of public benefits – including Medicaid, health insurance coverage through HSRI, nutrition assistance (SNAP and WIC), LIHEAP, Child Care assistance, and housing assistance  – will not affect an individual’s immigration status. In addition, public charge does not apply at all to refugees, asylees, lawful permanent residents (except if the person leaves the country for more than 6 months). Lastly, public charge also does not apply when a person seeks to become a citizen

    New Health Care Eligibility Fact Sheet and Brochure for Immigrants

    EPI has prepared a new factsheet and brochure to help Rhode Island immigrants understand and access health coverage available to them based on eligibility. The fact sheet outlines the many options available to immigrants, depending on immigration status, for accessing affordable quality health care.


    Affordable Health Insurance for Immigrants 2021 (ENGLISH/SPANISH)

    Family Preparedness Plan

    If you think you might be detained or deported, making a plan for someone to care for your child can help create stability in their care and allow someone trusted to be in charge of them.

    This guide will help you create a plan for your children's care.

    For more general information on your rights as an immigrant and how to protect yourself during ICE raids you can read about that here.

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