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Statue of Liberty with dollar bill background: Wealth Test for Green Cards | Immigration Lawyer Mario Godoy | Godoy Law Office

Wealth Test for Green Cards Approved

The United States Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to enact broadened income-based restrictions on immigration on January 28. Commonly known as the public charge rule, the Department of Homeland Security moved to define a “public charge” as someone who is “more likely than not” to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. Courts across the country issued injunctions to block the public charge rule from going into effect on October 15, 2019, calling it a “wealth test for green cards.”

A wealth test for green cards impacts more than the 1.2 people who apply for a green card each year, according to PBS:

The Department of Homeland Security estimates 382,264 immigrants per year will be affected by the changes. The New American Economy, a nonprofit that focuses on immigration research, puts the estimate much higher–at 3.9 million. 

If all of those immigrants were barred from living in the U.S., the nation’s economy would lose about $82 billion per year, the New American Economy analysis finds. That number includes $48 billion the affected immigrants would earn in income each year, plus an estimated $34 billion that would otherwise be generated because of the money they spend in the U.S economy and the amount they would pay in taxes.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, is scheduled to hear arguments in the first week of March on two nationwide injunctions issued by a trial judge to stop the new DHS rule.

The new rule will deny legal permanent residency – green cards – to immigrants who are likely to use public assistance. Immigration officers will have the ability to deny or approve applicants for green cards, visa extensions, and other changes to immigration status on factors based on the future use of “public benefits” such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. The revised public charge rule broadens the eligibility criteria to include “noncash benefits providing for basic needs such as housing or food” that an applicant used in any 12 months in a 36-month period, and that use of two kinds of benefits in a single month counts as two months.

With experience in many immigration cases and understanding of the situation, the new public charge regulation could put you or your loved ones in, it could be helpful for you to contact legal counsel today. Mario Godoy and the other experienced immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options. Call us today at 855-554-6369. 

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