Immigrant Relations

Provides education and resources that help local governments, community partners, and other entities understand the issues, needs, and contributions of immigrants.

Immigrant Relations

At the Social Services Agency, we believe that public benefits strengthen families and serve the public good.  With the ongoing public health emergency and economic hardship, we are committed and support access to services for all people and families living in Alameda County, regardless of immigrant status.  Everyone must have access to medical care, nutrition, housing and essential services to thrive.  We continue to encourage clients and members of the public to contact any of our non-profit immigration service providers if they have questions about how the use of public benefits may impact their immigration status.

Did you know?

In Alameda County

  • 31% of county residents are foreign born
  • 43% speak a language other than English at home
  • 1 in 2 children have a foreign-born parent
Important to Remember
  • Information given to SSA is confidential and only used to determine eligibility for benefits.  The federal government does not have access to the Agency's systems for immigration enforcement purposes.
  • Do not let fear of your immigration status or lack thereof stop you from seeking help.  Services are available for individuals of any status.

Understanding "Public Charge"

Our Agency is thrilled to let you know that President Biden has taken action to end the Trump public charge policy. It is now safe for immigrants and their families to use the health, nutrition, and housing programs to which they are legally entitled without fear or confusion.


  • Medical treatment, testing or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes.
  • Use of Medi-Cal, CalFresh, public housing, and section 8 voucher rental assistance will NO LONGER be considered when applying for legal permanent residency or entry into the United States.
  • The only programs considered when applying for legal permanent residency or entry into the country are
    • Cash assistance programs, such as CalWORKs, General Assistance, and SSI
    • Institutional long-term care paid for by Medi-Cal
  • Application or receipt of benefits for your children, spouse, or other family members will NOT be considered in a public charge assessment.
  • Many immigrants - such as refugees, asylees, TPS, VAWA Self-Petitioners, those with or applied to have Afghan or Iraqi immigrant visas, or T or U-visas, among others - are exempt from public charge.

Alameda County was the first County in the state of CA to officially oppose the expansion of the definition of public charge back in October 2017.  SSA worked closely with other County Departments, Board of Supervisors, County Counsel, and community partners to support overturning the Trump policy.  We applaud the Biden administration for taking decisive action to protect working immigrants and their families.