Know Your Rights

In these uncertain times, it’s important that you know your rights. Below are our latest resources:

For Individuals 

For Workers:

For Educators: 

For Employers: 

For Health Care Providers:

Find more resources for individuals, social service providers, and educators at: www.informedimmigrant.com

Find a Know Your Rights presentation near you, or request one here.

What to do?



Need legal help? Click here to search for an attorney in Oregon.

If you are detained by ICE, family members can use the ICE detainee locator.

Public Benefits, Public Charge, and Immigration

News about proposed rule changes related to the use of public benefits and immigration applications have many immigrants and their families worried about accessing safety net programs like SNAP (food stamps), Oregon Health Plan, and more. Below is a list of resources and guidance to support families and service providers in making informed decisions based on facts, not fear.


State of Oregon Resources:

For Families

UPDATED: 9/12/2019

There is a new federal rule that changes how people are found to be a “Public Charge.” It lets the federal immigration agency look at a longer list of public benefits, and more factors such as family income, when deciding whether a person is likely to become a Public Charge in the future. This new rule doesn’t go into effect until October 15, 2019, and the rule is not retroactive, so any newly added benefits won’t start to count against people until October 15th.

Public charge does not apply to many benefits and many categories of immigrants. Do not give up important benefits that your family needs, like food assistance and health care, based on rumors and fear. Be informed so you can make the right choice for you and your family.

Quick Facts about the Proposal to Change Public Charge:

  1. Public Charge does not apply to everybody. Learn how the rule applies to you.
  2. Don’t give up services your family needs due to fear. Get the facts before making decisions.
  3. You are not alone: Immigration attorneys, legal service providers, and community partners are available to answer your questions and make the best decision for your family:
    • Contact an immigration attorney with questions about immigration options and public benefits. Find legal help at oregonimmigrationresource.org/resources.
    • Call Oregon’s Public Benefits Hotline with questions about benefits and enrollment: 1-800-520-5292.
  4. The proposed rule would not apply retroactively. Any newly added benefits won’t start to count against people until October 15th.

What is “Public Charge” and what could change?

Public Charge is the term used by immigration officials to refer to people who primarily rely on government cash assistance, such as TANF, to support themselves. Being a “public charge” can impact a person’s eligibility for a green card or a visa.

The federal government proposed a change to the definition of public charge that would create immigration consequences for some individuals who access SNAP, OHP, and other services. This change could affect many families seeking residency, but it is being challenged in the courts. Learn more about the changes at: protectingimmigrantfamilies.org.

What you need to know:

The rules have not yet changed for those applying for green cards who will have their residency interview in the U.S. Most public benefits (like health care, WIC, Cover All Kids, and many more) DO NOT count today towards public charge. Different rules apply to those seeking a visa from outside the US. Talk to an immigration attorney to learn more.

The public charge rule does NOT apply to many types of immigrants. Refugees, green card holders, survivors of certain crimes, and other immigrants are exempt from rules about public charge regardless of the proposed changes. See below for a complete list of exempt categories.

What you can do:

Do not give up benefits your family needs due to rumors or fear. The new rules are not yet in effect and may not affect you.  Get advice so you can make the right choice for you and your family.  Stay informed and about real changes.  If the rules do change, you will have time to act before the new rules go into effect.  Follow oregonimmigrationresource.org and protectingimmigrantfamilies.org for the latest news and to make your voice heard.

How does Public Charge apply today?

Under current rules, these benefits may result in a public charge determination. This list of immigrants is NOT subject to Public Charge rules

These categories are exempt from public charge tests under the law and will continue to be exempt under any new rules.

  • SSI
  • TANF
  • Long term care in an institution paid for by the government
  • Non-emergency Medicaid (OHP) for adults who are not pregnant
  • Paid Housing and Section 8 subsidized housing
  • SNAP (food stamps)
  • Refugees and asylees
  • Green Card holders applying for US citizenship or renewing their cards
  • Active military duty families, and others
  • VAWA self petitioners
  • T or U visa holders (Survivors of trafficking, DV, or other crimes))
  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Registry applicants (in US before 1972)


For Service Providers

Service Provider Resources:

Guidance for Providers: Sharing the Facts about Public Charge


**As of 2/1/2019, the Department of Homeland Security has not issued a final rule on its proposed changes to public charge Please see this Quick Analysis from the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign for a breakdown of the proposed rule.**

This guidance is based on the best information available as of February 1, 2019. It is intended to support providers sharing this fact sheet and talking to families about the potential impact of the proposed public charge rule change on their immigration options. This guidance is intended for use during the proposal and public comment processes. Recommendations may change if the proposed rule is implemented. For the most current information, refer to the online version of this guide.  


  1. Be sure your information is current – the facts and recommendations on this sheet are current as of 2/1/2019. If you are using a print version, there may be updates at bit.ly/2wGP6FF. Follow Protecting Immigrant Families for the most up to date information.
  2. Do not spread fear about Public Charge.  Provide accurate, fact- based information about all the benefits that do not currently create public charge issues and all the categories of immigrants who are exempt from the question of public charge.  See page two for information about how public charge applies today.
  3. Inform people that the rules have not changed (unless a person is seeking permission to enter the US from outside the country).  Encourage people to make informed decisions about how likely it is they will ever face questions about public charge, versus how much their family needs critical important public benefits like food, shelter, and health care.  
  4. Do not give legal advice or attempt to interpret how the law or rule applies to an individual’s specific situation, rather help them find the right legal resource to do so. Public charge is a complicated issue and each individual’s case is different.
  5. Support your participants in making informed decisions: direct people with questions about the likelihood this will affect their immigration case to speak to their attorney, or to find one using the directories at Oregon Immigration Resource. Direct those with questions about benefits and enrollment to Oregon’s Public Benefits Hotline:  1-800-520-5292.
  6. Tell families they are not alone, that there are groups mobilizing statewide and nationally to keep the rule from becoming law, and that there is still time to fight back and make their voices heard. Direct them to Protecting Immigrant Families to learn how they can get involved.
  7. Take action: Sign up as your organization’s representative on Protecting Oregon’s Immigrant Families to receive updates and tools to support fair access to services for all families.
  8. Find more advice for providers:


How does Public Charge apply today?

Current list of benefits that might, but are not guaranteed to, result in a Public Charge Determination:  

  • SSI
  • TANF
  • Long Term Care in an institution Paid for by the government
List of immigrants exempt from Public Charge inquiry

These categories are exempt under the law and will continue to be exempt under any new policy.

  • Refugees and Asylees
  • Certain people paroled into the US
  • VAWA self petitioners
  • Cuban, Nicaraguan, or Haitian entrants
  • Survivors of trafficking, dv, or other crimes (T or U Visa applicants/holders)
  • Amerasian immigrants
  • Green Card holders applying for US citizenship
  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Registry applicants (in US before 1972)
Recommended resources:

Recommended lists:

  • Protect Oregon’s Immigrant Families online community –  receive Oregon specific educational materials, updates, and advocacy tools (public comment toolkit and more)
  • National PIF campaign listserv – sign up for the most up to date news on the rule, training opportunities, education tools, and more (sign your organization up as an ‘active’ campaign member for even more resources)





Deportations and ICE activity

We have received dozens of questions from the community regarding rumors about Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, immigration checkpoints, and other enforcement activity suspected of happening throughout Oregon.

Recent changes to our nation’s immigration policy have undoubtedly caused fear and panic within Oregon’s immigrant communities. Below is the latest information we have on ICE activity and what to do if you witness ICE activity or are detained.

Step one: Keep yourself safe.

Stay calm, maintain a safe distance, and do not interfere with or obstruct law enforcement. Interfering with or obstructing with law enforcement can unnecessarily escalate situations and lead to your injury or arrest.

Step two: Document the interaction.

If you have a smartphone, download the Mobile Justice Oregon App, also available in Spanish. This app will let you take video that is sent directly to the ACLU of Oregon. It also will walk you through a questionnaire that will help you document the incident after you’re done recording. If you don’t have a smartphone, but your phone has a camera, take pictures, write down your impressions immediately.

Step three: Call or text the ACLU of Oregon immigration hotline

Call or text the ACLU of Oregon immigration hotline: (971) 412-ACLU or the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition hotline at 1-888-622-1510. You should only use these hotlines when you personally witness an action or have information from a first-hand account of an action (i.e., you’re calling on behalf of someone who was a first-hand witness). Responders will work with community partners to both confirm rumors and disseminate accurate information.

For more information, visit: http://aclu-or.org/content/information-ice-raids-oregon.


​Protect Your Family

Every family should be prepared in case of emergency. Parents may want to plan for their children’s care in the event that they are detained, deported, incapacitated, or otherwise unavailable for any period of time.

Family Preparedness plan

This document is not legal advice and is for educational purposes only. The recommendations and forms in this packet may not be appropriate for your situation. We recommend that you consult with an attorney to ensure that your legal documents are appropriate for your individual circumstances.

We do not guarantee that these forms will be legally binding. If you are reading the Spanish translation of this document, make sure to fill out the English version of the forms.

Download the Family Preparedness plan in English.

Download the Family Preparedness plan in Spanish.

​Prevent Fraud

Do not take advice or counsel from public notaries. Only lawyers or DOJ-accredited representatives can provide legal advice on your immigration process. You can find a list of official legal providers here.

This information has been furnished by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.


  • Don’t be fooled by false advertisements, “notarios”, or attorneys who charge an unreasonable amount of money and tell you they can file your application.
  • Don’t believe it if someone tells you about a secret new immigration law or claims to have connections or special influence with any government office or agency
  • Don’t pay money to someone to refer you to an immigration lawyer
  • Walk away if an immigration lawyer doesn’t have a license
  • Never sign an application that contains false information, and try not to sign blank forms. If you must sign a blank form, make sure you get a copy of the completed form and check to make sure all the information is correct before it is filed
  • Always get proof that your papers have been filed–ask for a copy or government filing receipt whenever anything is submitted in your case
  • Insist on a written contract that spells out all fees and expenses and make sure you receive a receipt, especially if you pay cash. If terms change, get a written explanation
  • Don’t let anyone “find” you a sponsor or spouse to get you a green card–it’s illegal


By promising too much–and knowing too little–notarios often destroy the dreams of immigrants. They promise low-cost, quick results for everything from citizenship to green card renewal, but often do not know immigration law. Even if they actually do the work they promise, such as file green card papers, they may do it incorrectly and cause permanent harm. In fact, many notarios are simply scam artists, taking their “client’s” trust–and money–without ever delivering results.


The Oregon Department of Justice consumer hotline: 1-877-877-9392 ext. 0 (ext. 1 for Spanish)

The Oregon Department of Justice complaint form: English and Spanish versions.

The Oregon State Bar also investigates cases of “notario’ fraud, and communicates with the Oregon Department of Justice. The complaint form  (only available in English) must be printed out and faxed or mailed in.


If you need help finding a qualified immigration lawyer in your area, you can contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) online at www.ailalawyer.com or visit our Legal Resources page.

Don’t be fooled! Many dishonest consultants will claim to be lawyers or accredited representatives. If you consult an immigration lawyer, make sure the immigration lawyer is licensed. If you work with an accredited representative, ask to see his or her accreditation with his or her current non-profit organization.

Don’t be afraid to consult an attorney! Many notarios actually charge more than attorneys to handle cases. It often costs nothing to talk to a lawyer about your personal situation. To find an attorney, visit our legal resources page.


Watch Video: “Stop Notario Fraud”


For more information about notario fraud, please visit www.StopNotarioFraud.org

Request Community Meeting

​In addition to the resources available on this website, we’re traveling the state to provide community education forums, answer questions, and provide important information and updates.

For a full list of schedule community education meetings, please visit our Events Page to see if there is meeting near you.

If you don’t see an event in your area, you can request one here. Please fill out the form below or call 503-409-2473.

Community and Cultural Resources

Visit 211info.org to locate social, educational, health, and childcare services throughout Oregon.

Visit Multnomah County’s Cultural Services Directory to locate culturally-specific services in and around Portland.