Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Teresa Mares

Second Advisor

Pablo Bose

Third Advisor

Bradley Bauerly


Public Charge Rule, Immigrant, Food Insecurity, Food Bank, Access, Vermont


The Public Charge Rule seeks to prevent low-income immigrants from becoming lawful permanent residents if they are likely to use or have used certain public benefits. A public charge is defined as a person that has become dependent on the government by using cash benefits or long-term healthcare at the government’s expense.[1] Under the Trump administration, the rule was broadened to include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from February 2020 to March 2021. Despite President Biden overturning the rule once he came into office, the Public Charge Rule’s chilling effects have persisted, making it increasingly difficult for immigrants to access food. After conducting interviews throughout and around Chittenden County, Vermont, I discovered that the chilling effect persisted throughout federal and community organizations. In speaking with providers, advocates, and advisors, I unearthed many barriers to access in addition to the Public Charge Rule. The culmination of these obstacles results in a greater risk of food insecurity for immigrants in Vermont.

[1] “Federal Register, Volume 64 Issue 101 (Wednesday, May 26, 1999),” accessed May 6, 2022,

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.