Public Charge Rule Changes
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an individual may be denied admission into the U.S. or adjustment to lawful permanent resident status (green card) if (s)he is “likely at any time to become a public charge.”
The term “public charge” has been interpreted as a person who is or is likely to become “primarily dependent” on “public cash assistance for income maintenance” or “institutionaliz[ed] for long-term care at government expense.” On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule that amends DHS regulations how DHS will determine individual’s likelihood of becoming a public charge. The final rule incorporates consideration of more kinds of public benefits received, including cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs.
This regulation does not apply to humanitarian-based immigration programs for refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juveniles, certain trafficking victims, victims of qualifying criminal activity, or victims of domestic violence . This final rule goes into effect on October 15, 2019.
This change is likely to expand the number of immigrants that ineligible for green cards and admission to the United States .