On February 24, the Department of Homeland Security implemented Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule nationwide. This means that as of now, any immigrants that are currently a “public charge” or determined to be one in the future by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can most likely be denied a Green Card. 

What Does “Public Charge” Mean?

In the 1800s, Congress put into statute that immigrants are inadmissible to the United States if they cannot care for themselves. If they cannot, they become what is known as a public charge. This means they need the assistance of public benefits that are provided by the government. For example, this can include Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, Medicaid, certain housing programs, income maintenance, and more. Immigrants using these benefits will no longer be considered admissible under the new final rule. The final rule also requires immigrants looking to extend their stay or change their status to show that they have not received public benefits since obtaining their status. 

The purpose of the rule is to enable the federal government to better carry out provisions of U.S. immigration law. Speaking of the rule, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security said, “President Trump continues to deliver on his promise to the American people to enforce our nation’s immigration laws … This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance, and determination. It also offers clarity and expectations to aliens considering a life in the United States and will help protect our public benefits programs.”

Who Does The Final Rule Not Apply to?

It is important to know that the final rule applies to applicants for admission and immigrants seeking to adjust their status within the country. In turn, it does not apply to the following parties:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Immigrants whom Congress exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, such as:
    • Refugees 
    • Asylees
    • Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas
    • Certain nonimmigrant trafficking and crime victims
    • Individuals applying under the Violence Against Women Act
    • Special immigrant juveniles
    • Those to whom DHS has granted a waiver of public charge inadmissibility

In addition to this, there are certain public benefits that DHS will not consider. This can include those received by U.S. service members, spouses and children of U.S. service members, children born to or adopted by U.S. citizens living outside the country, certain Medicaid benefits, and benefits received on behalf of a legal guardian. 

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. Immigration is a sensitive issue, which is why you should consider a compassionate, experienced, and aggressive immigration attorney who will guide you every step of the way. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your circumstances and options.