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Public Charge: The Policy that Could Change Everything for Immigrant Families

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 -
2:00pm to 3:30pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360, San Francisco, CA 94105
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Immigrants are an inextricable part of our American society and democracy. It is common sense to support opportunities for immigrant communities to succeed more, not less. However, a new proposed immigration policy change is coming in under the radar with the potential to affect immigrants in a way that would be more dramatic than the ban for Muslims entering the country and ending DACA for young people. Given the breadth and scope of this proposal, there’s a good deal philanthropy can do to hold off damaging changes and help grantees respond.

Earlier this year, leaked drafts of a proposed change to the interpretation of the “public charge” immigration law was widely reported in the national press. The proposal would make it significantly harder for immigrants to become citizens and would threaten the health, stability, and well-being of millions of immigrant families. Already living in a heightened climate of fear, under the proposed regulation, immigrant parents would be faced with the difficult choice of staying on the path to U.S. citizenship or ensuring that their children have healthcare, healthy food, and stable housing. 

Join us for a thoughtful discussion with a multi-sector group of leaders who are working together to protect the wellbeing of immigrant families and fight against this proposed change to the public charge regulation.


  • Why this proposed change to the public charge regulation is a healthcare issue, an early childhood issue, a food security issue, and an economic security issue, and what’s at stake for funders across multiple issue areas.  
  • Why the proposed change to this immigration policy will have ripple effects beyond immigrant communities.
  • The array of options for funders to hold off changes to the public charge regulation and protect immigrant families. 


Ignatius Bau (moderator) is an independent consultant, working with community-based organizations, minority physician organizations, state health departments, national health care quality organizations, and foundations on health care reform, health equity, and immigration policy. He has worked as interim executive director at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, program director at The California Endowment, policy director at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and immigration attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. He drafted the City of Refuge ordinance enacted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1989, was a founding board member of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services, and on the statewide steering committee of Californians United Against Proposition 187. Since January, he has been active in the Protecting Immigrant Families legal and policy analysis and federal advocacy working groups preparing responses to the anticipated proposed public charge regulation.

Mayra E. Alvarez is President of The Children's Partnership, a national, nonprofit organization working to ensure all children have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and lead productive lives. She was recently nominated by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve on the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), which oversees the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Prior to The Children’s Partnership, Ms. Alvarez completed a several-year set of assignments at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the administration of President Barack Obama. She served as the Director of the State Exchange Group for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and led a team responsible for supporting states in the establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces.  Previously, Ms. Alvarez served as the Associate Director for the HHS Office of Minority Health, where she led the coordination of OMH’s work related to the Affordable Care Act, community health workers, and language access. Prior to this role, Ms. Alvarez served as Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at HHS where she had primary oversight responsibility for coordinated and timely implementation of the public health, prevention, and health care workforce policy provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Before joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Alvarez served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and for then-Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis. Ms. Alvarez began her professional career as a David A. Winston Health Policy Fellow in the office of then-Senator Barack Obama. She completed her graduate education at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley. She is originally from outside San Diego, CA and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants.

Tanya Broder is a Senior Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, where she has worked since 1996.  She specializes in the laws and policies affecting access to health care, public benefits, and education for low-income immigrants across the United States. Tanya writes articles and policy analyses, engages in litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and provides technical assistance and training to legal and social service providers, government agencies, legislative staff, and community-based organizations.

Stephen Knight is the Director of Policy & Partnerships at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Stephen joined the Food Bank as Policy & Partnerships Director in 2016. He brings two decades of experience as an advocate for social and economic justice, both in law and policy advocacy. Stephen’s professional career includes work on affordable housing, the environment, immigration and human rights as Deputy Director with the National Housing Law Project, Political Director with Save the Bay and Deputy Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. A native San Franciscan, Stephen is a graduate of Yale University and U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

Thu Quach, PhD, serves as the Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services, a federally qualified health center in Oakland serving 28,000 patients in English and 12 Asian languages. In this capacity, she oversees community services programs, research, specialty mental health, facilities and general administration. As an epidemiologist, Dr. Quach has conducted research focusing on Asian Americans and immigrant populations, including examining occupational exposures and health impacts among Vietnamese nail salon workers.  Dr. Quach is involved in local, statewide, and national research and policy efforts to promote health equity, including data warehouses, community-based participatory research, civic engagement, and health policy. In addition, she has been very involved in a new organization – the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT), which engages and empowers Vietnamese Americans for a just and diverse America. Dr. Quach was born in Vietnam, and arrived in the U.S. at the age of five as a refugee with her parents and siblings. She received a Masters in Public Health at U.C.L.A. and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at U.C. Berkeley.

Sachi Yoshii is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects at the East Bay Community Foundation. She provides support to the strategic direction and implementation of the Foundation’s vision to advance a Just East Bay. Sachi started her career in philanthropy at The Atlantic Philanthropies working in a range of executive, program, and operations departments to provide oversight of global grant making activities, including the development of program strategies, financial and budget planning, and execution of technology initiatives and data trend analyses. She has also worked as a strategic consultant with leaders of foundations, non-profit organizations, and the public sector focused on development of community infrastructure in the Bay Area through public/private partnerships.  Sachi is a member of The San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Committee, serves on the Board of Directors for Rubicon Programs and the New Breath Foundation, and in an advisory capacity for the Asian Prisoners Support Committee. She is also an Instructor at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka the at Stanford University. Sachi is a native East Bay resident, currently living in Oakland. She received a dual-degree MBA from Columbia Business School and London Business School and a Bachelors degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz.