Is the new Public Charge rule going to be implemented to take effect on October 15th, 2019?
A: It is likely that this rule will be implemented unless there is intervention by the Federal Courts. There are currently at least 8 lawsuits, filed by several States challenging the constitutionality of provisions in the rule. There are some controversial parts of this rule which may be prevented from going into effect. It is controversial because it contains provisions that are purposely designed to prevent individuals with low income from receiving permanent residence. The new public charge rule among other things redefines the term ‘likely at any time to become a public charge’ which is a ground of inadmissibility in Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to mean whether the applicant for permanent residence is more likely than not to receive any of those designated state and federal programs for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36 month period. It no longer applies to just those who might become primarily dependent on the designated benefit.
Q: When is the last day to file an adjustment application for permanent residence in order to avoid this rule being applied to your application?
A: Your adjustment application must be mailed and postmarked no later than October 14th, 2019. However, please NOTE: October 14th, 2019 is a Federal public holiday which means there Is no Federal Postal Service to accept mail to be postmarked October 14th, 2019. Effectively this means the last day for mailing in an adjustment application will have to be Saturday, October 12th, 2019.
Q: Under the new Public Charge Rule, are there any additional forms to complete and submit? If yes, is there a Filing Fee?
A: There is an additional Form to complete and submit it together with the Form I-485 application for adjustment of status. Form I-944 is the Form to use. It appears that there is no Filing Fee required for Form I-944. All adjustment applications postmarked after 10/15/2019 must be accompanied by Form I-944.
Q: I intend to apply to become a US Citizen at the end of this year. Will this rule affect me?
A: There is no public charge test when a permanent resident applies for naturalization or when they renew their permanent residence using Form I-90. The new Public Charge Rule will only affect applicants for permanent residence.
Q: If my son who is a US Citizen has been on food stamps since he was born, will it affect my application to adjust status to become a permanent resident?
A: The rule specifically states that benefits received by family members of the intending immigrant will not be considered in the public charge determination.
Q: What are the benefits that count under the new Public Charge Rule?
A: The benefits include Medicaid (federally funded), Food Stamps or SNAP (federally funded), Section 8 Housing assistance and project based rental assistance, subsidized housing, and Cash Assistance such as SSI, TANF, General Assistance.
Q: Are there any benefits that will be exempt from this new public charge rule?
A: Yes. Some of the benefits that appear to be exempt include Medicaid received by the applicant while under the age of 21 years or while pregnant; any benefits received part of disaster relief or emergency medical care ; Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); WIC; public health services, earned benefits such as unemployment, social security retirement, workers compensation; and school based nutrition services and public education including Head Start.
Q: My mother who is a Permanent Resident is visiting India and has been there for more than 180 days. She intends to return to the US during Christmas. Will the new Public Charge rule affect her?
A: This is a very good question. The answer is yes, it will. Most people will certainly be unaware of this. Permanent Residents are only affected by this proposed change to the public charge ground of inadmissibility if they spend more than 180 days outside the US and then seek to reenter the US.
Q: I was granted asylee status about a year and a half ago and I am looking to file my adjustment application as I am now eligible to file. Will I be affected by this new Public Charge Rule?
A: No, certain categories of applicants are exempt from the public charge test when they file for their adjustment of status. Some of these are refugee and asylee adjustments; Special Immigrant Juvenile Status adjustments; U nonimmigrant status adjustments, VAWA self-petition adjustments and T nonimmigrant status adjustments.
Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration Lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.