New “Public Charge” Policy for U.S. Green Card Applicants

Hello, this is Anna from IMS.


Earlier this month, an announcement of a new regulation was made by the Department of Homeland Security’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services (can be seen here in the official Federal Register).


The new rule changes DHS regulations that determine the conditions of admissibility under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by adding a likelihood of being a “public charge” as grounds for inadmissibility.


Depending on how this rule is to be applied, the general idea is that citizens applying for residency or even just visas can be rejected if they have low incomes, low education levels, or have used or are likely to use benefits such as Medicaid or subsidized housing.


The idea is to crack down on people coming to the U.S. who will end up being a “financial strain” on American welfare resources in the future, but most legal experts and immigration specialists find this to be a thinly veiled way of making it easier to turn down lower-income immigrants.


By doing this, it means that the presidential administration is trying to take matters of implementing a merit-based immigration system into their own hands, and circumventing Congress to do so.


The new rule is set to take effect on October 15th, but according to this Economist article, “Dozens of lawsuits against this change are in the works, including a complaint by the states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont.” According to the LA Times, California has also joined in the lawsuits. If passed, this new rule could affect hundreds of thousands of people living in the US already, as well as those looking to come in the future.



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