USCIS announced that the Public Charge rule will go back into effect on December 23, 2022. The Biden Administration lost its most recent battle to end the Public Charge Rule on September 8, 2022. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a policy change that the “final rule” that will reimplement the public charge ground of inadmissibility is effective on December 23 and applies to applications postmarked (or electronically submitted) on or after December 23. In announcing the new effective date, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said:
“USCIS is not considering an applicant’s receipt of Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.”
In a FAQ page issued on the final rule, USCIS also said:
“We must ensure that immigrants and their families, many of whom are essential and frontline workers, are not deterred by confusion or fear from obtaining access to important government services for which they are eligible to keep their families safe and healthy. A central goal of our efforts now is to increase equity and to prevent unfairness, consistent with law.”
The public charge rule, also called the wealth test, gave U.S. immigration officers the authority to deny applicants for green cards, visa extensions, or other changes in immigration status. During the Trump administration, the Public Charge rule was expanded to include that someone who was dependent on government benefits or was likely to become dependent on public health benefits in the future is not eligible for a green card or other U.S. visas. Effective September 9, 2022, visa applicants are not required to submit Form I-944 or DS-5540. President Bident signed an executive order on February 2 calling for a review of the public charge rule implemented by the Trump administration.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Section 212(a), says that noncitizens will become inadmissible if they become a public charge. Prior to the 2019 public charge changes, benefits that were not considered for noncitizen inadmissibility included Medicaid or nutrition assistance.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office offer assistance in immigration matters. We also advise family and employment-based immigrants looking to secure status. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 630-912-0322.