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  • Writer's pictureD’Andrea Law

New Public Charge Rule Effective on FEB 24, 2020

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court sided with the Trump Administration on implementing the long anticipated public charge rule. This alarming rule will affect future green card applications, forcing applicants to prove they will not become a public charge or burden on US taxpayers. With this change, USCIS officers will be asked to determine whether or not applicants are dependent or will ever become dependent on public assistance programs in the future. “Self-sufficient” permanent residency applicants have a higher likelihood of ultimately receiving a green card. Disappointingly, this action targets low income immigrant families, who are already residing in US communities. Relevant public assistance programs will now include Medicaid, housing assistance, food stamps, and other types of non-cash assistance programs. In addition to considering an applicant’s access to public benefits, other factors like age, health, income, education and professional skills will be used to determine any future dependency. Below is a full list of assistance programs that USCIS officers will evaluate with the green card application:

1. Any Federal, State, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance;

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI);

3. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);

4. Federal, State or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the State context, but which may exist under other names);

5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or formerly called “Food Stamps”);

6. Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program;

7. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation);

8. Public Housing under the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.; and

9. Federally funded Medicaid

The new public charge rule will be applied to applications filed on or after February 24, 2020. USCIS officers will not consider public benefits received or accessed before February 24, 2020 when evaluating public charge in future applications. We are strongly encouraging our clients to file for adjustment of status before that day, in order to avoid complications from this rule. Each green card application will be accompanied by a new form titled I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. Contact our highly experienced attorneys in Glendora and Pasadena for assistance filing your adjustment of status case as soon as possible.

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