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U.S. Supreme Court Approves Trump Administration's New Public Charge Rule

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U.S. Supreme Court Approves Trump Administration's New Public Charge Rule

On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s legal arguments in support of its new “public charge” rule. The court ruled 5-4, allowing U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to enforce the regulation. The 4 liberal justices ruled against the public charge rule, while the conservative justices ruled for it.

Officially, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s call for a “stay” of the nationwide injunction issued by federal courts nationwide against DHS’s public charge rule. Something worth noting in the Supreme Court’s decision is that its decision did not include the State of Illinois. That is because an Illinois federal court ruled specifically that DHS could not implement the rule in the state.

Now, however, DHS has full authority to implement the public charge rule within most of the United States. It is likely that DHS will issue a notice of when it shall begin implementing the public charge rule. New versions of certain applications and forms may be implemented soon, as they were required under the rule. Forms effected include Form I-129, Form I-485, Form I-539, Form I-864, Form I-864 EZ, Form I-944, and Form I-945.

As a reminder, we previously discussed the new “public charge regulation” in a few past blogs. According to DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a “public charge” is “an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” Several factors are considered when making a “public charge” finding.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(a)(4) states that an individual applying for an immigrant visa abroad or their permanent residency (green card) in the United States should not be allowed to do so if the individual “is likely at any time to become a public charge." If an individual is deemed a “public charge,” they are legally “inadmissible” and thus are not allowed to enter the United States as an immigrant and are not allowed to obtain their residence.

Proponents of the measure defend it for calling for “self-sufficient” immigrants. Opponents believe that the rule will ultimately harm low-income immigrants and immigrants from developing countries. In fact, the new public charge rule asks for applicants to disclose how much money they have, whether they speak English, and whether they have previously obtained any public benefits.

Do you or a loved one believe you are impacted by the new public charge rule? Call Ibrahim Law Office, an immigration law firm, to schedule an appointment today.

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