Although the litigation over the policy change will continue, the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted the newly revised “public charge” to go into effect. The high court stayed the nationwide injunction against the new rule going into effect that a lower federal court previously issued.
Under the new public charge rule, the federal government may deny green cards or visas to enter the U.S. to individuals who are likely to rely on public assistance. To measure whether an immigrant is expected to become a public charge, USCIS will consider various factors about the applicant, including education, medical history, employment, and assets. Additionally, if immigrants have used any public benefit on an expanded list of such benefits, including Medicaid, SNAP, and more, for a specific number of months, they could be considered ineligible on public charge grounds.
Most recently, U.S. officials have clarified that they will not apply the new public charge policy to any immigrants who use government benefits to seek care for symptoms of coronavirus. The move is likely designed to encourage immigrants to seek diagnosis and treatment for their symptoms to further avoid the spread of the virus. The fear is that due to the new public charge rule, immigrants may be reluctant to seek medical attention for themselves and their families. This situation could result in heightened dangers to public health.
Additionally, the public charge rule will not apply to immigrants who must seek public benefits as a result of the pandemic because they are unable to work or attend school. Federal officials advise that immigrants in this situation can later explain and provide documentation that they will take into consideration when applying the public charge rule.
An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and present your options. Finally, we can help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.