- Dept. of Homeland Security final rule: A federal court enjoined the final rule from taking effect (it was scheduled to go into effect on 10/15/19). The injunction will remain in place until the entire case is heard, unless the government appeals the injunction and it is overturned.
- Dept of State interim final rule: DOS published an interim final rule in October 2019 to mirror the enjoined DHS regulation. The regulation was scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019, but implementation has been partially delayed. DOS is accepting public comments until November 12, 2019. DOS plan to issue a new form (Public Charge Questionnaire), but it is not anticipated it will go into effect until 2020.
- Presidential Proclamation on Health Insurance: The October 4, 2019 proclamation states that immigrant visa applicants will be denied entry to the US unless they can show that they either have or can get approved health insurance within 30 days of admission or they have enough resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs. The date of implementation of this proclamation is November 3, 2019, although there will likely be litigation.
For more detail, see CLINIC’s analysis
What community organizations should know about Public Charge
The proposal establishes factors that will be considered “heavily weighted negative factors” and “heavily weighted positive factors.” Use of specified government benefits are considered heavily weighted negative factors. Heavily weighted positive factors include having a household income of at least 250% of the federal poverty level. It is not clear how an officer should decide a case that has both heavily weighted negative and positive factors.
What to Tell Community Members
If the rule is finalized, there will be at least a two-month period for you to make a decision about whether or not to stay enrolled in critical public programs.
If you are applying for a green card in the U.S. now, use of benefits listed in the proposed changes cannot be used against you right now. The use of past benefits will not affect you.
Programs used by your U.S. citizen children will never be used against you unless it’s your family’s main source of income. Right now, there is no reason to drop health care, food assistance, or housing your family needs.
Every family is different, and the programs that help your family might not even be covered by the government’s proposal.
General Screening Questions
There are lots of organizations that can help. Talk to an immigration attorney to give you advice based on your specific situation.
RESOURCES: Community Module
Be mindful of Unauthorized Practice of Law
Click here to learn more about Notario Fraud Prevention.
Additional Community Resources
- Let’s Talk About Public Charge(PIF Campaign)
- Keep Getting the Help You Need (PIF Campaign)
- Frequently Asked Questions on Public Charge for Immigrant Families(MomsRising and PIF Campaign)
- State Public Benefits Charts and Interactive Map of Benefits Eligibility (A resource for immigrant advocates, health service providers, and legal service providers – Developed by the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project)
For more information, check out Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign…
Information for Lawful Permanent Residents
Applying to enter the U.S. from abroad
The U.S. government’s policy about public charge has already changed for people who are seeking a visa or a green card at consular offices outside of the U.S. In January 2018, the U.S. State Department revised its Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) to institute new policies on public charge. If you are seeking a visa to enter the U.S., you may be subject to the public charge test and will have to show why you should not be deemed likely to become a public charge.
For more information on this, see the National Immigration Law Center’s publication Changes to “Public Charge” Instructions in the U.S. State Department’s Manual.
Traveling Green Card holders
If you have a green card, you may be subject to the public charge test when you try to reenter the U.S. if you travel abroad for more than six months. We suggest that, before you leave the U.S., you discuss your travel plans with an immigration attorney.
The public charge test is forward-looking. It would not consider any newly listed benefits used prior to the date the proposed new rule takes effect. If you previously received help from government programs but your situation has changed, you can show that you will not need those services now or in the future (for example, because you now have a job).
Information for Noncitizens applying to enter the U.S.
Lawful permanent residents receiving help from government programs
You cannot lose your green card just because you, your child, or other family members use benefits properly. And you cannot be denied U.S. citizenship for lawfully receiving benefits. But you may have a problem if you leave the U.S. for more than six months and then try to reenter the country, because at that point you are requesting “reentry” into the U.S. If you’re planning an extended trip outside the U.S., speak with an immigration attorney before you leave.
Green Card Renewals
The public charge test does not apply when you renew a green card. The renewal application may not be denied based on your use of programs for which you are eligible.
Naturalized U.S. Citizens
U.S. citizens cannot lose their citizenship based on their lawful use of public benefits. Once you become a U.S. citizen, the government may not deport you and must always let you return to the U.S. after you travel outside the country.