DHS Announced New Changes to the Public Charge Rule
DHS has finalized its previously proposed changes to the public charge inadmissibly rule. It is set to take effect on October 15, 2019, provided that litigation does not stop the implementation. The new rule will affect green card applications filed after the October 15th date and will not affect currently pending application. The new rule places a burden on applicants to prove that they are not likely to receive certain public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period.
The types of programs that will be considered a “Public Benefit” has also expanded to include:
1. non-emergency Medicaid;
2. Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps);
3. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program;
4. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance;
5. and Public Housing.
The previous rule included only the follow public benefits:
1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
2. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF),
3. state or local general relief or general assistance
4. institutionalization for long-term care - Medicaid program
USCIS will use five factors when determining whether someone will more likely than not to become a public charge:
1. the applicant’s age,
3. family status,
4. assets/resources/financial status,
5. and education/skills.
These factors will be weighted as positive or negative on a case by case basis.
Also, the new rule allows USCIS to request that the applicant posts a bond if USCIS thinks that the applicant may become a public charge. The bond will be at least $8,100.
The new rule will not affect current green card holders, including in their application for naturalization. However, should a green card holder stay outside the US for more than 180 days, they may be scrutinized during their admission regarding the public charge rule. In addition, the Department of Justice is working on a new rule that may affect the deportability ground of public charge.
For more information about the new public charge rule, please contact our office for a free telephone consultation (15 minute) at 248-557-3645.