News & Insights

Finally An End To The Notorious Public Charge Rule

On Tuesday, March 9, the new head of DHS, Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the government would no longer apply Trump’s Public Charge rule as it was not in the public interest or an efficient use of government resources.

This rule was used by the prior administration to limit legal immigration by targeting low-income and low-skilled immigrants.  By requiring officers to make a prospective determination as to whether an individual was likely to become a public charge, officers had much wider discretion to deem immigrants inadmissible and deny them a green card.

The public charge rule received much criticism and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits.  Some lawsuits were successful resulting in the public charge rule being put on hold and others not so successful, allowing the Trump administration to proceed with applying the rule.  Never have I seen a rule with so much back and forth, that at times it was difficult to know if the rule was even in effect or not.

Now that we have a new administration and a new head of DHS it appears that the tides are turning.  In addition to confirming that DHS will no longer apply the Public Charge rule, Alejandro N. Mayorkas also confirmed that the original guidance on Public Charge inadmissibility from 1999 is now in effect.  The Department of Justice will also no longer pursue its appeals and by dismissing its appeal in the Seventh Circuit the original Court Judgment stopping the Public Charge rule going into effect is now restored.

So what does this mean going forward?  It means that the old rules will apply and that anyone taking Medicaid (with limited exception), public housing or SNAP benefits, cannot be deemed inadmissible under a public charge determination.   We would not expect there to be a continued need to file the horrendous I-944 form with USCIS or the lesser-known DS-5540 for Consular Processing cases.

03/12/21 update

USCIS has now confirmed on its website that it will no longer apply Trump’s Public Charge Rule and that Form I-944 is no longer required.

https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/public-charge

Let’s hope that the book is finally closed on this rule for good.

For further updates please continue to check our website and for further information for Immigration-related matters please contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com

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