EP12: How Trump’s New Public Charge Rule Affects Green Card Holders
President Trump wants to fundamentally change immigration regulations that will affect millions of immigrants and nonimmigrants.
But, before we get into what the proposed changes to the public charge definition will be, let’s discuss what the term actually means and how it can affect your immigration status.
The term “public charge” is something that USCIS looks for when determining whether an immigrant can enter and live in the United States. You can think of it as a type of test that is applied for each person applying for an immigrant visa, nonimmigrant visa or green card.
Specifically, the phrase “likely to become a public charge” is used when determining whether you are inadmissible.
Additionally, if you are found to likely become a public charge, it means that USCIS believes that you would become reliant on the US government for survival and therefore using government welfare.
As you can see, this is all presumptions. Being labeled a public charge doesn’t actually mean you have already used public assistance but instead, it means that you have risk factors that could potentially mean you will use them.
Do you see how ridiculous that is?
The reason this doesn’t make sense to me is that there are plenty of immigrants that are not likely to become a public charge but then fall on hard times and need cash assistance to survive after receiving a green card.
There is no way to predict accurately who will get on government benefits and who won’t.
I believe this new proposed change to the public charge rules is disproportionally affecting low-income immigrants more than affluent, well-off immigrants. Specifically those coming from Mexica and Latin America.
Related Post: What Is An Affidavit of Support? Form I-864 and I-134.
How Public Charge Was Defined Before Trump’s Proposed Changes
Before the proposed changes, the public charge definition only affected those who received cash assistance from the US government.
This included the following:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Supplemental Security Income — or federal help paying for long-term care.
Things like Medicaid and SSI were never part of the original definition. This is why what President Trump is now proposing is so dangerous. It will cause immigrants that otherwise really need help to avoid using public assistance for fear they will not be able to continue living in the US as permanent residents.
Trump’s New Public Charge Rule Changes
The proposed rule changes that Trump wants to put into affect in 2019 will drastically change how difficult it will be for most immigrants to get a green card.
Especially for those who have EVER received the following:
- Medicaid (doesn’t include emergency medicaid or medicaid through school or disability programs)
- Medicare part D included (helps low income buy prescription drugs)
- Food stamps (SNAP)
- Housing assistance (section 8 and housing voucher)
This will be more of a burden on low income immigrants who truly need the help. God forbid they also have young children (who are US citizens) who will also be affected by this rule change.
Note: receiving public assistance will not stop you from getting a green card.It will make it more difficult to get approved for one.
Related Post: Is Pregnant Wife Eligible For Medicaid With Green Card?
New Public Charge Rules May Take Affect in 2019
So how will the new public charge rules affecting your application to adjust status or remove conditions on your green card?
- Receiving government welfare in the past will not count against you after the rule change
- Only those who has used government welfare after the rule change goes live will be affected.
- Congress will need to approve the proposed new regulation
- It could allow some people who would be likely to become a public charge to post a $10,000 “public charge bond” so they could still enter the US.
Who Will This New Public Charge Rule Affect?
Wondering if this new public charge rule change will affect your case? Well here are some interesting facts:
- 900,000 immigrants and 176 million non immigrants every year
- 69% of recent LPRs have at least one public charge factor
- 43% have at least two negative factors;
- 17% percent have at least three.
- Only 39% of recent LPRs who were subject to the current LPC test have incomes above 250% poverty guideline
- New rule could result in up to 61% of LPR failing new public charge test
- Will affect women, children and elderly more
- This could seriously affect immigration from Mexico and Central America
- Pregnant women/children (whether GC holders or not) are eligible for Medicaid (will this affect them in future)
- LPR who leave US for more than 6 months and reentering will result in new public charge test
Bottom Line: Trump is Trying to Restrict Legal Immigration!
In my opinion, Trump is trying to limit legal immigration. It’s especially true for family-based green card applicants.
So, my advice to you is to ensure that you are not seen as likely to become a public charge. You can do this by showing evidence that you have a financial sponsor that meets the income requirement.
If you are looking to file your own immigration case without the expense of a lawyer, considering joining the Migrant Academy. An online course and community for fellow immigrants who are applying for family-based visas, green cards and US citizenship.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.