Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, the largest health center serving Washington and Yamhill Counties, identifies the need for participating in advocacy at the local, state, and federal level as a top priority. Virginia Garcia has been recognized by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) as an Advocacy Center of Excellence, Silver Level.

In the case of Virginia Garcia, an Advocacy Team has been established and is charged with recruiting staff, board members, volunteers, and community supporters of the Health Center to become Health Center Advocates and educating the community on the importance of advocating for VGMHC at all levels.


A new policy has been proposed that will impact the health and well-being of all immigrants. The policy is known as Public Charge. Below are a few critical details to know:

Current law authorizes a bar to entry or permanent legal status if an immigrant is likely to become dependent on cash “welfare” or long-term institutional care at government expense. But current policy does not consider an immigrant’s use of non-cash supports that help so many working families climb the economic ladder.
When an individual applies for Lawful Permanent Residency status (aka a “Green Card”), the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) evaluates whether he or she has used – or is likely to use –  certain public benefits that could make them a public charge.  If so, this is a “heavily weighted negative factor” against the applicant’s request.  In this proposed regulation, the Administration is proposing to significantly expand the list of programs that USCIS must consider when determining if an immigrant is a public charge.
Non-emergency Medicaid (with limited exceptions), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing support (e.g., Section 8 vouchers, public housing), Medicare Part D subsidies. As of yet, the Administration has not yet decided whether to add CHIP to this list.
If finalized, the regulation would chill access to critical programs that help immigrants and their families access health care, food, and other essentials. These programs have improved participants’ health, wellbeing, school success, and economic security. The proposal would make—and has already made—immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support basic needs. One in four children have at least one immigrant parent. This issue touches millions, making it critical now and for our nation’s future. How you live your life and contribute to your community should define you in this country, not how you look or how much money you have. New immigrants who work hard to make life better for themselves and for those who come here bring new ideas and new energy to our nation. It is important to note that some groups of immigrants—such as refugees, asylees, groups—are not subject to public charge determinations, and charge is also not a consideration when lawful permanent residents (green card holders) apply to become U.S. citizens.
The proposed rule was officially published in the Federal Register and the public was able to submit comments for 60 days. After reviewing all public comments and making any changes it deems appropriate, the Administration will issue a Final Rule, which will go into effect 60 days after being published.  In the meantime, and until a final rule is in effect, federal officials will continue to apply the current public charge policy.
If a patient or patient’s family are receiving benefits to go to the doctor, pay for food, or pay rent – they do not need to stop their benefits. The proposed rule is NOT yet final and will not be in effect for months. The proposed rule says that it will apply only to programs used after the rule goes into effect. Using benefits now can help patients become healthier, stronger, and more employable in the future. Under the draft proposal, benefits previously excluded from the public charge determination (such as Medicaid and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will be considered only if those benefits are received after the final rule is published.
Additional resources: Additional questions can be directed to Felicita Monteblanco, Policy and Advocacy Officer at 503.214.1650/


It is important that everyone have a firm understanding of their rights. Below are articles and links to information and resources that will help you stay up-to-date on current events and activities.

Know Your Rights

How to Be Prepared for an Immigration Raid | Versión en español   For more resources, visit our Health Care Matters page. Given increased enforcement activity in recent months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it [...]

Conozca Sus Derechos

Como prepararse para una redada de inmigración  | English version Para más recursos, visite nuestra página Health Care Matters. Dado el aumento de operativos de inmigración en los últimos meses a cargo de la [...]


DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA) Para leer esta página en Español, favor de hacer clic aquí. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is still valid. It's difficult to predict how and when [...]


  • Causa Oregon offers Know Your Rights trainings. Check their website for more information and to sign up.

  • NACHC (National Association of Community Health Centers has a website  to help you get involved.

  • Causa created the Oregon Immigration Resource website for questions concerning immigrants in Oregon.

  • One Oregon is a statewide coalition that defends against anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies and ballot measures and works to ensure that all Oregonians, regardless of country of birth, are treated with dignity and respect


  • Lutheran Community Services Northwest
    • Asylum, Unaccompanied Minor, Cancellation
    • Languages: English & Español
    • 605 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Portland, OR 97214
    • Tel: (503) 731-9539
    • Fax: (503 233-0667


The Latino Network provides information for members of the community.

The National Immigration Law Center provides important information on immigration rights and is dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

The ILRC (Immigrant Legal Resource Center) offers free "red cards" (know your rights cards), that can be ordered from the email provided on their website.  Here is the direct link to ordering the cards: also offer a sample "preparedness plan" worksheet.  It discusses a plan for minor children, and the right to request a hearing before an immigration judge if detained.   Here is the direct link:

The ACLU website also provides comprehensive "know your rights" material.  Pages 1, 7,8, and 9, are the most relevant.

Check out this article:  It summarizes the 129 years of constitutional protections for undocumented immigrants.


Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center (VGMHC) is a private, nonprofit organization recognized as exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. VGMHC’s mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farm workers and others with barriers to receiving health care.

VGMHC may take positions on or advocate with regard to public policy issues pertinent to its mission, consistent with the requirements of applicable Federal and Oregon law. However, VGMHC conducts all of its activities in an entirely nonpartisan manner. VGMHC may acknowledge the elected officials who support us, but we do not endorse, support, or oppose candidates for public office, nor do we intervene in any election on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate or political party.

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