We have talked at length about the new public charge rule implemented by the Trump administration to put tighter restrictions on who is eligible for permanent residence. As of February this year, despite a number of legal challenges, the rule is now fully in effect.
Definitions in the Final Rule
The final rule defines “public charge” as an alien who has received one or more public benefits (as defined in the rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period.
The final rule defines “public benefits” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid and certain housing programs.
Certain classes of aliens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as refugees, asylees, certain VAWA self-petitioners, U petitioners, and T applicants) and therefore, are not subject to the final rule.
What Applicants Can Do
Applicants who are currently receiving any of the forms of public assistance above should rightfully be concerned.
If you are concerned that you are not eligible to apply at the moment, we would advise you to contact a knowledgeable immigration to discuss your eligibility and if you qualify for residency.
Finally, if you are unable to discontinue your receipt of these public benefits, you can always add additional explanation to your application that cites hardship in hopes that USCIS will consider your unique circumstance when making their final decision.
The public charge rule makes the permanent residency application process much more complicated for certain individuals. If you think you might be negatively impacted by the rule, reach out to me to schedule a consultation!