Immigration Resources

Parents’ fear of detention and deportation has been heightened by recent actions by the federal government and has become a priority issue affecting young children and their families throughout Los Angeles County. All families, including immigrant families, have a right to engage with the public systems that exist to serve their health, education and caregiving needs. There are organizations throughout the county that provide resources to help parents understand their rights to receive services for their young children and offer ways for parents to initiate conversations with their children about community stress and separation.

Public Charge Ruling Updated February 6, 2020

On January 30, 2020 U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin implementing the new public charge regulations on February 24, 2020 which will allow immigration officials the ability to deny a green card to immigrant applicants if they are in receipt of certain public benefits. First 5 LA and other advocates across the country have opposed the updated rule, arguing that it unfairly penalizes low-income immigrants who rely on temporary assistance from the government

Since the Trump Administration announced plans to expand the rule in February 2018, First 5 LA has actively opposed the public charge through local, state and federal advocacy with our legislative leaders, also by signing onto nationwide coalition letters, and supporting immigration panel discussions, media ads, and townhalls to elevate the importance among our early childhood partners.

First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé’s Statements (February 3, 2020): First 5 LA Executive Director Joins Early Childhood Advocates in Strong Opposition to the Public Charge Rule



Protecting Immigrant Families
What is public charge? “Public charge” or the “public charge test” is used by immigration officials to decide whether a person can enter the U.S. or get a green card (Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status). In this test, officials look at all of a person’s circumstances, including income, employment, health, education or skills, family situation and whether a sponsor signed a contract (“affidavit of support”) promising to support the person. Officials can also look at whether a person has used specific benefit programs. The public charge test does not apply to green card holders who are applying for U.S. citizenship.

  • Let’s Talk About Public Charge – This resource is designed to help immigrants, mixed-status families, and communities understand the core elements of public charge.
  • Updated Fact Sheet – This resources explains key elements of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized rule and the changes from previous public charge policy.
  • Getting the Help You Need – This resource is designed for people that work directly with immigrant families to help them understand whether they are subject to public charge.
  • You Have Rights: Protect Your HealthAvailable in Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and more languages coming soon. This resource is designed to help mixed-status families know more about their rights when it comes to going to the doctor or enrolling in health insurance.

Some Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The rule is not in effect yet. It will apply only to applications submitted on or after October 15, 2019. Newly-named benefits used prior to that date will not be considered.
  • Not everyone is subject to the rule. Many immigrants are exempt from the public charge inadmissibility ground. Benefits used by family members will not be counted.
  • Positive factors can be weighed against negative factors in this forward-looking test.
  • Every situation is different. You can consult with an immigration attorney if you have questions about your own case.

For more information, visit

Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Many immigrant families will remain eligible for needed services and will not be legally impacted by changes to the public charge rule.

  • Public Charge – A summary of the main public charge provisions.

Care, Cope, Connect Guide
English » | Spanish » | Arabic » | Korean »
Today’s families are addressing complicated issues. To help navigate the difficult conversations around community stress, trauma, and separation from loved ones, First 5 Association of California consulted with Sesame Street in Communities to create the Care, Cope, Connect guide. This resource provides:

  • Tips for parents on caring for themselves and their children during tough times
  • Ways for families to cope with difficult times together
  • Guidelines on talking with kids and helping everyone stay connected to their families and communities

Legal Aid

Legal Aid

Bet Tzedek
For the past 40 years, Bet Tzedek has provided free, comprehensive legal services for low-income individuals and families in Los Angeles, proving that access to justice makes a difference in people’s lives. We seek to empower the more than 20,000 people we serve every year with the help of hundreds of pro bono attorneys and volunteers.

Immigration Law Help is a searchable online directory of over 1,000 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states.

Legal Aid Foundation of LA
Since 1929, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles has provided civil legal aid to poor and low-income people in Los Angeles County.

Neighborhood Legal Services
Neighborhood Legal Services is a steadfast advocate for individuals, families and communities throughout Los Angeles County. Through a combination of individual representation, high impact litigation and public policy advocacy, NLSLA combats the immediate and long-lasting effects of poverty and expands access to health, opportunity, and justice in Los Angeles’ diverse neighborhoods.

Public Counsel
Public Counsel’s activities are far-ranging and impact a wide spectrum of people who live at or below the poverty level. Volunteer attorneys have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects-large and small, litigation and transactional matters. Our staff provides training, model pleadings and forms and consultations to volunteers.

Citizenship Awareness and Application Process

“The mission of the Council of Mexican Federations in North America (COFEM) is to empower immigrant communities to be full participants in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the United States and their home country. We accomplish this work by uniting, strengthening, and expanding our member organizations to better advocate, preserve and share their cultural traditions and help improve the lives of families and friends in their country of origin”.

NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

¡Protégete!…¡Ciudadanía Ya!
¡Protégete!…¡Ciudadanía Ya!, is an historic community-based campaign that will educate and motivate the more than 755,000 eligible legal permanent residents (LPRs) in Los Angeles County to apply for citizenship. Born out of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Step Forward LA initiative, the campaign brings together a multi-sector coalition of the region’s most prominent immigrant rights organizations, local elected officials, philanthropic organizations and Spanish-language media companies. The coalition will mount a coordinated effort to inform eligible LPRs about the process, and expand access to trustworthy naturalization services in every corner of the region.

Children and Family Services

Children’s Bureau
Protecting vulnerable children through prevention, treatment, and advocacy

The Children’s Partnership
For informational resources and updates on DACA, visit

The Bresee Foundation’s mission is to provide comprehensive after-school programs and family services that equip young people to pursue their education, achieve their full potential, and serve others.

LAUSD: Resource and Information Guide for Students and Families…
The toolkit is designed to provide information and resources for Students and Families enrolling and currently enrolled within the LAUSD. This information can also be used to support other student populations (such as foster care youth, homeless youth) in the District.

SPIRITT Family Services
Established in 1972, SPIRITT Family Services provides crisis intervention, life skills and hope for a stable, nurturing and healthy family for families in eastern Los Angeles County. With nearly 8,000 individuals served each year, SPIRITT’s strength-based family-centered approach is designed to increase an individual and family’s protective factors. SPIRITT Family Services staff provides innovated, culturally-sensitive, evidence-based and compassionate solutions to children, youth, adults and families.

Common Sense Media – Whatever your political stance, this issue is one of basic human rights. We are all navigating these difficult days with our families, bombarded by newscasts and social media, and you may be struggling to discuss unfamiliar topics or looking for ways to take action. Common Sense Media has developed tips on how to help talk to kids about the news of family separations at the border.


Community Advocacy and/or Immigration Services

Advancement Project
Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Fighting for civil rights and empowering Asian Americans to create a more just America for all.

CARECEN empowers Central Americans and all immigrants by defending human and civil rights, working for social and economic justice and promoting cultural diversity.

CHIRLA: Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights The largest California-based immigrant rights organization, CHIRLA is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide immigration legal services at low-cost to its members. All legal staff and volunteers at CHIRLA are supervised by licensed attorneys, BIA-accredited representatives, Juris Doctors.

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