In this brief, the Center for American Progress aims to give the public a sense of the radical nature of the unilateral action the Trump administration is planning regarding the public charge rule. To do so, the authors estimate what would happen if all people in the United States—U.S.-born citizens and immigrants alike—had to take the “Trump test,” based on the most recently leaked draft of the rule. According to CAP’s estimates, the proposed Trump test is so restrictive that more than 100 million people—about one-third of the U.S. population—would fail if they were required to take it today.
This estimate is a conservative one that is based on a snapshot of people’s current circumstances. Yet the Trump test is ongoing, so people who pass the test today could very well fail it in the near future due to economic downturns, mass layoffs, job insecurity, health problems, disability, or other factors. While, in this brief, the authors do not estimate an upper bound for Trump test failures, it is reasonable to assume that at least half of all people in the United States could fail this test over a period of several years.