Misconceptions about the Trump Administration’s new public charge policy are causing many immigrants to refrain from seeking Medicaid coverage for their children out of fear of deportation. The rule is facing multiple legal challenges nationwide and although it was scheduled to go into effect on October 16, 2019, at least one federal district judge has issued a nationwide injunction preventing the rule from going into effect.
Under the new public charge rule, federal immigration officials will be able to deny visa and green card applications from immigrants whom they believe could become a public charge, or primarily dependent on government aid. Officials could determine that individuals are likely to become public charges based on their low income, or their prior use of benefits programs such as Medicaid and SNAP or food assistance.
The public charge rule has been in effect since 1882, but historically has been very vague. In the past, the rule has been applicable only to individuals whose entire income came from government cash benefits or who needed extensive medical care and had no insurance coverage.
However, the new rule refers to various other benefits programs, including health care, food stamps, cash assistance, and public housing programs. It also increases the income threshold for applicants to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines.
In response to the public charge rule, immigrants are removing themselves and their children from healthcare and food assistance programs, even if they already have valid visas or green cards. The misinformation about the new policy circulating in immigrant communities is making all immigrants wary of using any government benefits, even if they are entitled to them or usage would not affect their legal immigration status. Immigrant parents with special needs children, for instance, may believe that they must remove their children from Medicaid, even if the public charge rule doesn’t apply to them and their situation.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the cases of countless individuals who are facing immigration problems. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. As a result, we will strive to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 399-2311 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.