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Public Charge Rule, What is it?
Immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, discusses what a public charge is based on the new rule that DHS published in the federal register last week. In that rule, DHS defines Public Charge.
Andres Mejer: Now public charge what is it?
Andres Mejer: Well the words public charge present presently don’t have a precise definition. It’s been used since 1882 but it has never been precisely defined. Cases have talked about it and it’s generally been interpreted as a person who receives assistance from the government a.k.a. a public benefit. The new definition of the new rule will provide a definition and it says someone who receives a public benefit for a total of 12 or more months, within the last 36 months is a public charge. So if I’m applying for a benefit like my Green Card today they’re going to look at the past three years. Now DHS Department Homeland Security added a single duration standard. Let me give you an example. So that means every instance of a benefit counts as a point. So let’s assume you get food stamps in January July and November they will count as three months or three points, whereas before it would only have counted as one instance of getting food stamps because they all happened in the same 12 month period. What public benefits are considered? Well, the new rule says those who receive certain benefits will have a point assigned for every single month they use the program. So going to my prior example January, July, and November. Each got food stamps. Let’s also assume I got housing, public housing for those three months. So now it’s not just three points. It’s actually six points because I receive food stamps and I received a housing allowance. So that’s each month two points three months that’s six points total. Now, these points will be heavily weighed against them in any decision. But immigration is going to look at it under the totality of the circumstances. They are going to look at all positive and all negative and then make a decision. It’s possible that a public charge will get weighed heavier than others. We will have to see how it gets implemented. Or you know as it rolls on and we’ll keep you informed. Don’t forget to please Subscribe at the bottom and if you have any questions and hit like if you have any questions or any issues you want us to talk about on this program. I’m happy to do that. Just send me a message privately or otherwise.