TASSC Statement on the Public Charge Rule
On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final rule on “Public Charge” inadmissibility in the Federal Register. The Public Charge final rule is scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019.
TASSC seeks to clarify that the vast majority of our member survivors of torture will not be affected by the Public Charge rule. Refugees, asylum applicants, and asylees applying to adjust their status to U.S. lawful permanent resident (asylees applying for a greencard) are EXEMPT from the Public Charge inadmissibility
TASSC is deeply disquieted by the expanded scope of the Public Charge final rule because it is purposed to generally reduce the number of immigrants eligible for a greencard. The United States has a beautiful and rich history of welcoming immigrants. That our current President and his administration continue to make decisions that seek to drastically limit immigration overall is extremely dismaying and starkly misaligned with TASSC’s appreciation of the invaluable contribution immigrants make to our country.
Who does the Public Charge final rule affect and what does it do?
The Public Charge final rule will largely affect family-based greencard applicants. The final rule allows the United States to deny greencard applications if is determined that an immigrant whom applies for a greencard has been, or will be dependent on government funded benefits listed in the Public Charge final rule. Again, refugees, asylum-seekers, and asylees applying for a greencard are not affected.
After October 15, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a DHS agency, will determine if a family-based greencard applicant is a “public charge” using an expansive list of factors such as whether the applicant has received one or more specified government benefits. An applicant can be considered a “public charge,” and thus ineligible to receive a greencard, if he or she has received one or more of the specified government benefits, including healthcare, food stamps, or federal housing subsidies, for more than 12 months in the aggregate and within any 36-month period. Additionally, when determining whether the applicant will likely ever become a “public charge” in the future, DHS adjudicators can consider the greencard applicant’s age, health, family size, education, work skills, and financial status. Applicants must also submit a new Declaration of Self-Sufficiency form, which requires him or her to provide information about personal financial resources.
Moreover, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) embassy and consulate officials who grant or deny immigrant and non-immigrant visas will also make visa approval or denial determinations in part on whether the visa applicant is likely to become a public charge. Therefore, the Public Charge final rule will result in less visa approvals overall.