A motion filed April 24 to suspend the Trump administration’s controversial public charge rule during coronavirus was denied by the Supreme Court. The request by New York, Vermont, Connecticut and New York City said the public charge rule is deterring some immigrants from accessing health care and public benefits that are “essential tools for protecting the public at large” by limiting the “spread and severity” of the virus. The court denied the request with no noted dissents but indicated the states could ask district courts for further relief.
A separate request to suspend the Public Charge Rule made by Illinois has not been responded to. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), relief and unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 do not count against the public charge rule.
The Department of Homeland Security public charge rule defines 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. Often called a “wealth test for green cards,” the rule denies 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.
On April 7 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an executive order to ensure that Chicago’s illegal immigrants and refugees are able to access the city’s coronavirus relief benefits.
Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm in Chicago and Lombard with experienced immigration attorneys who are ready to help you interpret complicated immigration law as they apply to your case. Contact us online or call today at 855-554-6369.