8 U.S.C. § 1621 : US Code - Section 1621: Aliens who are not qualified aliens or nonimmigrants ineligible for State and local public benefits

    (a) In general
      Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as provided
    in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, an alien who is not - 
        (1) a qualified alien (as defined in section 1641 of this
        (2) a nonimmigrant under the Immigration and Nationality Act [8
      U.S.C. 1101 et seq.], or
        (3) an alien who is paroled into the United States under
      section 212(d)(5) of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)] for less than
      one year,

    is not eligible for any State or local public benefit (as defined
    in subsection (c) of this section).
    (b) Exceptions
      Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply with respect to
    the following State or local public benefits:
        (1) Assistance for health care items and services that are
      necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition (as
      defined in section 1396b(v)(3) of title 42) of the alien involved
      and are not related to an organ transplant procedure.
        (2) Short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief.
        (3) Public health assistance for immunizations with respect to
      immunizable diseases and for testing and treatment of symptoms of
      communicable diseases whether or not such symptoms are caused by
      a communicable disease.
        (4) Programs, services, or assistance (such as soup kitchens,
      crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter)
      specified by the Attorney General, in the Attorney General's sole
      and unreviewable discretion after consultation with appropriate
      Federal agencies and departments, which (A) deliver in-kind
      services at the community level, including through public or
      private nonprofit agencies; (B) do not condition the provision of
      assistance, the amount of assistance provided, or the cost of
      assistance provided on the individual recipient's income or
      resources; and (C) are necessary for the protection of life or
    (c) "State or local public benefit" defined
      (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), for purposes of
    this subchapter the term "State or local public benefit" means - 
        (A) any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or
      commercial license provided by an agency of a State or local
      government or by appropriated funds of a State or local
      government; and
        (B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or
      assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance,
      unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which
      payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household,
      or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local
      government or by appropriated funds of a State or local

      (2) Such term shall not apply - 
        (A) to any contract, professional license, or commercial
      license for a nonimmigrant whose visa for entry is related to
      such employment in the United States, or to a citizen of a freely
      associated state, if section 141 of the applicable compact of
      free association approved in Public Law 99-239 or 99-658 (or a
      successor provision) is in effect;
        (B) with respect to benefits for an alien who as a work
      authorized nonimmigrant or as an alien lawfully admitted for
      permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act [8
      U.S.C. 1101 et seq.] qualified for such benefits and for whom the
      United States under reciprocal treaty agreements is required to
      pay benefits, as determined by the Secretary of State, after
      consultation with the Attorney General; or
        (C) to the issuance of a professional license to, or the
      renewal of a professional license by, a foreign national not
      physically present in the United States.

      (3) Such term does not include any Federal public benefit under
    section 1611(c) of this title.
    (d) State authority to provide for eligibility of illegal aliens
      for State and local public benefits
      A State may provide that an alien who is not lawfully present in
    the United States is eligible for any State or local public benefit
    for which such alien would otherwise be ineligible under subsection
    (a) of this section only through the enactment of a State law after
    August 22, 1996, which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.