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Inadmissibility in Public Charge Grounds

On September 21, 2018 DHS signed a new proposed rule that will affect immigrants who seek a greencard based on a family petition. According to the current law, in order to be admitted, they must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge. This is usually accomplished by complying with affidavit of support by petitioner or by a joint sponsor. However, the new “public charge rule,” will require officials to take into account whether an immigrant is “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence” and if so, deny the application. 

The public charge rule takes into account an immigrant’s use or likelihood to use cash assistance like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and public assistance for long-term institutional care.

And the rules are about to change, in a way that will discourage even more immigrants from using benefits. Children who are American citizens but whose parents are immigrants could be more likely to suffer repercussions, said some experts. This will widen the social gap and generate more struggles to first generation Americans. When parents opt out of public assistance for fear of their own legal status, their kids are less likely to be enrolled in programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, for which they would qualify.

The following are benefits enumerated in the proposed rule:

i. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
ii. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
iii. General Assistance Cash Benefits
iv. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
v. Housing Programs a. Section 8; Housing Choice Voucher Program b.; Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
vi. Medicaid
vii. Institutionalization for Long-Term Care

This rule, after the comments period, is likely to go into effect in 2019.

Mariela Caravetta

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