U.S. Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS) issued its final rule on inadmissibility on public charge grounds on August 14, 2019. The rule will become effective on October 15, 2019. The new rule will have no effect on applications and petitions already pending with USCIS before that date.
As expected, almost 20 states, along with immigration advocacy groups, have filed at least six separate lawsuits to try and block the new public charge rule. These states fear that the new rule will have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy, resulting in billions of losses of revenue from immigrants denied citizenship. The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that the financial losses resulting from implementation of the public charge rule could cost the economy as much as $33.8 billion and 230,000 jobs. Plus, when less people sign up for non-cash public benefits, states receive less money from the federal government for those programs. Fewer benefits also translates to less spending money for individuals who are no longer receiving the benefits.
The major change to the public charge rule concerns legal immigrants in the U.S. who use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance for more than 12 months in any 36-month period. Immigrants who do use these benefits for the stated timeframes will jeopardize their ability to obtain green cards and become naturalized citizens. The move effectively could block citizenship for thousands of immigrants legally living in the U.S. There are some exemptions to the rule, such as for refugees and immigrants seeking asylum.
USCIS maintains that it is simply clarifying and enforcing a policy that has been on the books for years, and that its goal is to ensure that immigrants who become U.S. citizens are financially self-sufficient. The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the cases of countless individuals and businesses who are facing immigration issues. 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) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.