Modifications to the public charge rule will make more people eligible for green cards in 2023.
As of December 23, new immigration regulations have been put into effect that would ease the inadmissibility criteria for public charge, thus allowing thousands of people who previously did not qualify for a 2023 green card to do so.
In mid-2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented certain changes to the public charge rule. Such changes would eliminate some of the categories that make certain state service recipients inadmissible, preventing them from applying for permanent residency.
Now, starting in 2023, migrants who must rely on public health care or any other government subsidies will no longer be penalized, but will instead be eligible for a green card.
Will all public benefits users be able to access a green card? What has changed in residency prosecutions? Is it really beneficial for the immigrant community? At Jaskot Law, we’ll answer all your questions.
What is public charge?
ThePublic Charge Rule is a regulation aimed at migrants who use U.S. government public services, such as those related to health care, food stamps, or any other subsidies, and then want to apply for permanent residency or some other type of visa.
What this rule does is penalize in some way those who use government benefits, preventing them from getting a green card. Its purpose is to prevent immigrants from overusing these benefits and becoming a “public charge.”
This rule is also based on issues related to health, age, income, whether the person has family support or a sponsor, the person’s skills and education, and whether the person receives certain public benefits. It is important to clarify these key factors, given that the public charge rule does not affect all people, but there are rather several factors that intervene in the decision of the authorities before saying whether someone is a public charge.
What changes are coming in 2023?
This year, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that “We will not penalize people for accessing health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.”
Whereas people were very likely to be ineligible for a green card because they were considered a public charge if they used government benefits or vouchers in the past, now this has changed.
On the other hand, with these changes in public charge, in 2023, government services received by immediate family members of the green card applicant will not be considered as a charge.
What does it mean for the migrant community?
Yes. In theory, it is beneficial for immigrants who want to adjust their status in the United States. The change in the public charge rule means that there will be, at least, one more hurdle removed from the path to permanent residency.
However, many issues related to the public benefits used by green card applicants will continue to be evaluated. And if the USCIS considers that the applicant could end up living off the U.S. state instead of generating income for the country, he or she will also be struck off as a public charge. The difference now is that these inadmissibility criteria are much more lax.
On the other hand, those who obtain permanent residency will most likely not apply for many of the government benefits. This is a factor to take into account for those cases in which these subsidies are essential on a day-to-day basis.
For those who have questions or concerns about public charge or green card eligibility, the attorneys at Jaskot Law are always available.
What is the Green Card, and who is eligible for it?
The Green Card is the permanent residence card in the United States. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens, workers sponsored by U.S. employers, refugees and asylees, among others, are eligible.
How do I apply for a Green Card?
You can apply for a green card through sponsorship by a U.S. citizen relative, a U.S. employer, or through a refugee or asylum petition. You can also get it through the visa lottery.
What is the Green Card application processing time?
Green Card application processing times vary depending on the type of application and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office responsible for processing the application. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years.
What are the benefits of the Green Card?
The Green Card grants its holder the right to live and work permanently in the United States, to travel in and out of the country, and to apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time.
What should I do if my Green Card is about to expire?
If your Green Card is about to expire, you should apply for renewal. The renewal process should be initiated approximately six months prior to the expiration date. If your Green Card has expired, you should apply for renewal as soon as possible and follow USCIS instructions to obtain a temporary extension of your residency while your renewal is being processed.