Breaking News - Public Charge Rule Back in Effect, Homeland Security States

A Sept. 11, 2020, court decision allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume implementing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule nationwide. The decision stays an earlier injunction, issued during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that prevented DHS from enforcing the rule during a national health emergency.

The final rule defines public charge as an alien who receives one or more public benefits (as defined in the final rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).   

If you filed your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after Feb. 24, 2020, you may be required to file Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. If we receive a Form I-485 before Oct. 13, 2020, that does not have all required forms and evidence, we will request any missing forms and evidence. After Oct. 13, 2020, we will reject your Form I-485 if you do not include the required forms and evidence with Form I-485 at the time of filing.

Benefits Considered  

DHS will only consider public benefits as listed in the rule, including:   

  • Supplemental Security Income;  

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; 

  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called general assistance in the state context, but which may exist under other names);  

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps); 

  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program; 

  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation);  

  • Public Housing (under the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.); and 

  • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions). 

This means that if you received any of the above listed benefits, your application for change of status could be denied. Make sure you consult an immigration attorney to help you with your case.

Please pass on the information to your friends, family, and networks.