The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would influence how DHS involves the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The presented rule would supply the fair and humane treatment for noncitizens requesting admission to the United States or applying for lawful permanent residence from within the United States. DHS has posted an advance copy of the proposed rule. The official version will publish in the Federal Register soon. To learn more, continue reading and reach out to our skillful NYC family immigration attorney today. Our legal team is on your side.
What is this proposed rule’s goal?
According to Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, “the 2019 public charge rule was not consistent with our nation’s values…under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.”
In 2019, the previous administration extended the understanding of the term “public charge” and the types of public benefits considered. It caused many noncitizens to be fearful of accessing benefits that Congress intended them to have, including noncitizens who are not subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility, such as children in mixed-status households. With the 2019 public charge rule vacated, DHS is now launching an open and fair rulemaking process to establish a new regulation. DHS welcomes comments from the public.
Under the proposed rule, DHS proposes to define “likely at any time to become a public charge” as “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” Consistent with long-standing agency practice, DHS proposes to consider the following public benefits when making a public charge inadmissibility determination:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Cash assistance for income maintenance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- State, Tribal, territorial, and local cash assistance for income maintenance; and
- Long-term institutionalization at government expense.
DHS proposes that it not consider non-cash benefits such as food and nutrition assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, most Medicaid benefits (except for long-term institutionalization at government expense), housing benefits, and transportation vouchers. DHS would also not consider disaster assistance received under the Stafford Act; pandemic assistance; benefits received via a tax credit or deduction; or Social Security, government pensions, or other earned benefits.
It is important to recognize that the proposed rule will have a 60-day public comment period that begins on the date set in the forthcoming Federal Register publication.
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