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Big Immigration Changes Mean Public Charge is Out

We have cause for celebration because the Public Charge Final Rule put into effect by the Trump Administration in 2019 is no longer in effect. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer apply the Public Charge Final Rule to new immigration status applications or those pending, effective March 9, 2021.

As mentioned, this is newsworthy, but let’s take a look at the changes and why this is such good news for the immigrant community.

 What does Public Charge mean?

Immigration laws have been on the books for hundreds of years, and changes in every administration usually mean immigration law changes. The Public Charge Rule, introduced in the Immigration Act of 1882, states that immigrants applying for entry into the United States or attempting to adjust their status in the U.S. may be denied a visa or entry due to lack of economic stability. It was implemented to ensure entry is not permitted to persons who would rely on social services for their wellbeing in the U.S.

 Extremities of the Public Charge Rule

The Trump administration put into place much stronger restrictions and burdens of proof to the Public Charge classification.

Those who applied for visas or adjustment status can recall much more stringent audits into your assets and finances during the Trump Administration. Essentially, the Trump Administration, through the Public Charge Rule, made it incredibly difficult for economically disadvantaged people to enter the U.S. It even made it difficult for financially stable immigrants to legally enter due to the high minimums set for income, assets, health, personal insurance, etc. There were so many hoops through which we all had to jump, including immigration attorneys.

 So, what now?

Yes, this is news to celebrate, but it doesn’t mean that the borders are wide open. There is still a process to undergo, and a well-practiced immigration attorney can guide you through the complexities of that process. We still have to focus on sponsors meeting the required salary minimum and whether a co-sponsor is beneficial. While it’s still a convoluted process, the news regarding the Public Charge Rule reverting to the 1999 rules means far less paperwork and intrusion into your life and personal finances.

Please continue to follow us on social media and let us know if there’s something you want to hear on Immigration Wednesdays. We are constantly working to follow and interpret all of the ever-changing immigration laws that affect our clients and the immigration community. If you or a friend or family member are currently in the process of adjusting your legal status in the U.S., please reach out to us at Peek & Toland for guidance. Every immigration case is different, and our trusted immigration attorneys will work to create the most convenient path to citizenship for you.

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