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Public Charge Redefined in Final Rule Announced by DHS

In August of 2019, the Trump Administration announced a final rule on the definitions of public charges and their admissibility to the United States. The new law will also extend the types of programs that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will consider to determine whether or not to approve an applicant.

Redefining Public Charge

A public charge has been redefined as a person “who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in the aggregate, within any 36-month period.” The DHS must look at a variety of factors when deciding whether a person might become a public charge, including age, employability, financial status, assets, and family size.

If an immigrant is denied admissibility because of the likelihood of becoming a public charge, they may be able to post bond. Under the new rule, the bond amount will vary based on the individual’s specific circumstances, but at a minimum will be $8,100.

Programs the DHS Will Consider

Health, nutrition, and housing programs were previously excluded from government consideration when reviewing petitions for immigrants either seeking to come into the U.S. or change their status to a lawful permanent resident. Beginning October 15, 2019, the types of benefits the DHS can look at will include cash benefits for income maintenance and health, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP), non-emergency Medicaid, and housing programs.

Additionally, an individual could be denied a change of status or extension of stay if they receive benefits above a certain threshold.

Limitations on Immigration

The new rule was announced as a way of ensuring the self-reliance of those entering the country. However, it not only makes it difficult for individuals with lower earnings to immigrate to the U.S. but also forces those already here to forgo much-needed services for fear of their application being denied.

For Legal Representation, Contact Hubbs Law Firm

The DHS final rule goes into effect on October 15, 2019. Before that date, immigration, change of status, and extension of stay petitions will be evaluated based on current standards. If you are seeking permanent residency in the U.S., call our attorneys today. We will provide personalized attention to help you understand current and future laws and how they apply to your circumstances. Our team has assisted various individuals in achieving their immigration goals in the past, and we will work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Schedule your consultation today by calling us at (305) 570-4802 or contacting us online.