Our wrap-up of immigration news from the month of January continues today as we review the implementation of the new “public charge” rule.
Previous posts on expanding the “travel ban” to more countries for certain persons, suspending entry of foreign nationals who have visited China 14 days preceding their entry are available on the Davis Brown Immigration Law Blog.
Implementation of Public Charge Rule
The Trump Administration proposed a change in the interpretation of the term “public charge” in 2019 and a lengthy court battle followed with multiple courts issuing injunctions to temporarily block the change. The U.S. Supreme Court decided on January 27, 2020, to allow the Administration to implement the new rule, except Illinois, where certain litigation was not affected by the court decision.
The definition of “public charge” is important because U.S. law prohibits the immigration of anyone who is likely to become one. Previously, this was determined for the most part by whether an intending immigrant had personal income or assets, or an Affidavit of Support signed by an eligible person to pledge income or assets meeting certain guidelines.
The new definition is much more complex and restrictive. It considers factors such as age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, and education and skills.
The new definition will apply to both the grant of permanent residence and, in certain situations, temporary status in the U.S.
Besides complicating applications, this new requirement necessitates extensive new forms and will likely slow processing generally – a win for this Administration in itself. New forms and instructions will be issued the week of February 3 and the rule will go into effect on February 24, 2020.
Litigation against this rule is ongoing. It could ultimately be struck down even though it goes into effect in the interim.
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