Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Allows the Well Funded Immigrants To Obtain a Green Card While Bringing Harm to Hardworking Families
On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced a proposed rule to make it harder for immigrants to obtain a green card or visa. It would not matter whether the immigrant is already here legally or if they are seeking to enter.
The Administration seeks to broaden the inadmissibility ground relating to a “public charge.” This ground applies if the intending immigrant is deemed likely by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive certain public benefits once they come to the United States.
When the proposed rule is fully implemented it allows officers to deny hard working immigrants the opportunity to obtain a green card based on whether the person is likely to use public benefits. You read that right. It does not require actual use of public benefits only that an officer find that you may likely use public benefits in the future.
Currently, immigrants applying for a green card must submit an enforceable affidavit of support on form I-864. The affidavit of support is a contract between a US citizen or legal permanent sponsor in the US government that imposes on the sponsor a legally enforceable obligation to support the immigrant. Importantly the sponsor is not required to post any actual money with the US government. If an immigrant uses a means tested benefit than the agency that provided the benefit can seek reimbursement directly from the sponsor.
The Trump administration seeks to ensure that only those with financial resources can obtain immigration benefits. The final proposal includes a plan to reintroduce and amend the public charge bond provisions. DHS wants to institute a public charge bond process to “benefit” applicants that post a $10,000.00 bond to adjust his or her status.
In addition, the proposed rule allows DHS to pick and choose who would have the opportunity to pay this immigration bond. DHS proposes that a public charge bond can only be submitted in the immigrant’s behalf after it makes this option available to the immigrant and that DHS would reject any unsolicited attempt to submit a bond.
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