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The New Public Charge Rule

The new public charge rule does not affect everyone that applies for a green card or to has received certain public benefits. Under this new rule immigration officials will look at all positive and negative factors related to the applicant’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial means, level of education and job skills.

What is Public Charge?

A person that applies for a green card must demonstrate that they are not likely to become a public charge. The immigration officer can deny your application if they believe the noncitizen applicant is likely to use certain public benefits. In other words, the noncitizen must present evidence that they will be able to support themselves without using certain government benefits.

The new rule took effect on February 24, 2020 and requires the applicant to complete form I-944. The rule applies to those attempting to obtain lawful permanent residence through a family member petition.

Applicants not affected by the new public charge rule include:

Certain Public Benefits Can Make an Applicant Ineligible

An immigration officer will consider, as a negative factor, if the noncitizen received certain public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period.

These benefits include:

  • Federally funded Medi-Cal
  • Food stamps
  • Federally funded housing assistance

It is important to note that DHS will only consider a noncitizen to have received public benefits if the person is the named beneficiary of the benefit. This means the noncitizen is not penalized if other family members received public benefits.

Benefits that are not considered a public charge include:

  • Emergency care
  • Children’s health Insurance (CHIP)
  • Medicaid used by children under 21 years old
  • Public health services
  • Pregnant women receiving care during and 60 days after pregnancy
  • Earned benefits like unemployment, social security retirement, workers compensation
  • Tax credits
  • Benefits used by members of the military, Reserves and their spouses and children
  • School based nutrition services and public education
  • WIC
  • Spouse and children of those active and enlisted in military service

Factors Used to Determine Public Charge

It is important, to keep in mind that having received a public benefit is only one part of the public charge test. Immigration officers should not deny your green card application just because you might have received one or more of the public benefits listed in the new rule. The USCIS officer or consular officer will use the “totality of circumstances” to determine if the alien is more likely than not to depend on public benefits in the future

The officer will consider the follow circumstances when reviewing the alien’s application for a green card:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Family status
  • Assets, and resources
  • Financial status, including employment status
  • Education and skills
  • The sponsor’s affidavit of support

Get Assistance from Rodriguez Law Firm Today

Immigration attorneys will need to wait a few months to see just how immigration officials will use the information from the new I-944 form to approve or deny your application. When you reach out to our attorneys at Rodriguez Law Firm, we can work with the unique aspects of your immigration case to best assist you.

Call (619) 332-1703 to request a consultation with at Rodriguez Law Firm. Services are also available in Spanish.

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