Public Charge Rule Updates and Common Questions


Public Charge Updates

For those who don’t know, Public Charge is not new. There has always been a requirement that people who come to the US (even as tourists) are able to support themselves while they are here. 

But the Public Charge rule that the last Presidential Administration tried to put into place went further. In fact, it was considered by many to be a “wealth test” designed to keep all but the rich out of the US. 

On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told the Supreme Court that they would not be defending the lawsuit that was issued before them trying to uphold the Public Charge rule. 

They issued a statement and said: “As part of its review, DHS has determined that continuing to defend the final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019) (2019 Rule), is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources. Consistent with that decision, the Department of Justice will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 Rule.” 

With that announcement, the Supreme Court dismissed their review of the case. The 7th circuit also dismissed the lawsuit that was pending before them and upheld the lower court’s finding that the Public Charge rule was illegal and unenforceable. 

Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security said: “The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them with the President’s vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system.” 

That means that no one is subject to the Public Charge policy and that no one needs to file an I-944 with any applications for legal status, or any that required one in the past. 

 

Common Questions About the Public Charge Rule

We had a few questions recently on our YouTube page about the Public Charge that I wanted to address:

 

We’ve been advised the consulate in Juarez is denying GC’s due to public charge rule.

Honestly, we are confused by this. I find this hard to believe because Public Charge was never applicable for any applications outside of the US since its inception. It had lawsuits filed against it immediately and they enjoined or stopped the rule from being applied to foreign applications. 

If the consulate was denying green cards due to public charge, they were going against the DOS policy on the matter. 

If you did have your green card denied due to public charge, and you are outside the US, I highly recommend that you speak to an immigration attorney. An experienced New Jersey immigration attorney will help you deal with immigration issues and help you process the necessary paperwork for your case.

 

We received an RFE for an I-944, should we answer it?

The simple answer is, “Yes, of course, you should.” But you also should not give more information than what is asked. Often, we feel like people will trust us more when we talk more.

Officers at USCIS know if they let people talk, they may find out information that allows them to deny your case.  Only answer questions that are asked. Since the public charge rule is no longer in effect, you do not need to file for an I-944.

That being said, if you got an RFE (Request for Evidence), read it carefully. Your best bet is to get an immigration attorney to help you. The RFE may want more than an I-944 and if it does, it is necessary for you to answer it.  

Remember, an RFE is a request for evidence. When you get one, USCIS is saying “We want to approve you but need a little more information.” 

If you get an NOID, that is a notice of intent to deny, USCIS is saying, “We are planning on denying your application unless you can convince us otherwise.”  

Both of these must be answered within a certain time period. Both of these should be answered as fully as possible. But again, don’t supply information that isn’t asked, and don’t answer something you don’t need to answer.

So if they are ONLY asking for an I-944 that does not need to be sent in any longer, you should send in an answer indicating that it is no longer in effect so you won’t be responding for that form.

Since the public charge rule is no longer in effect, the 1999 field guidance is what immigration officials will look at when determining financial eligibility. 

So under that guidance, DHS will not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.  In addition, medical treatment or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes. 

Is receiving a stimulus payment under COVID-19 relief count against them for immigration purposes? 

No, it will not. Remember, public charge is not in effect. Receiving stimulus payments would never have been counted but it definitely will be not now.

Contact Our New Jersey Immigration Attorney Today!

If you need legal assistance on immigration issues, don’t hesitate to connect with a trusted New Jersey immigration attorney. Our attorneys at Andres Mejer law can help you deal with different immigration issues and provide a solution specific to your need. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.  

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