Biden created a new public charge rule that will make it possible to obtain permanent residency even if you ask for government assistance.
Adding another effort to eliminate the “Zero Tolerance” rules imposed by former President Donald Trump, Joe Biden has delivered a coup de grace to public charge policy. This policy made it impossible for the immigrant community to continue with their immigration papers if they availed themselves of certain economic benefits from the government, and pushed thousands of people to go hungry and not go to health centers for fear of losing their immigration status.
The new public charge rule implemented by the Biden administration came to change this once and for all. While during the Trump Era the number of people considered a burden had been expanded; now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced to the press that the new public charge will only consider as such those who rely solely on the government for economic subsistence.
In other words, by referring to an old rule dating back to 1999, the definition of public charge has been narrowed.
The rule before the rule
The main change that DHS and Joe Biden have wanted to implement is to eliminate the public charge rule put in place in 2019 during Donald Trump’s tenure. This policy was strongly criticized by immigrants and activists for being extremely harsh on the community. The rule imposed by Trump took as public charge, and therefore ineligible for a green card, anyone who made use of any government assistance for more than 12 months in any three-year period.
Criticism was focused on the fact that this definition of public charge directly targeted the most vulnerable sector of society. Most of the people were very humble and asked for the benefits to be able to feed, shelter and ensure the health of their family. Such a rule is nothing more than a violation of human rights.
What is the new public charge about?
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was in charge of announcing the good news to the press. He told the community that the new public charge rule will be enforced on December 23 of this year, and that its objective is to treat others fairly and humanely.
Consistent with America’s core values, we will not penalize people for choosing to access the health benefits and other complementary government services available to them, he added.
This new public charge will rely on more than a single factor to determine whether someone is or is not. For example, issues such as age, health, financial resources, education and talents will be taken into account. In addition, consideration will be given to whether individuals have already received or are receiving any type of supplemental security income and cash assistance.
On the other hand, the government will not consider people using non-cash benefits (such as food stamps or Medicaid), or any other type of assistance that a member of a migrant’s family may receive, as a public charge.
What do these changes mean for immigrants?
The main and most important thing is that the new public charge means a halt to fear. Many immigrants chose not to access public services such as hospitals and health care, as well as food stamps, for fear of losing the opportunity to become permanent residents in the United States.
At Jaskot Law we always celebrate changes that make the lives of migrants in the United States easier. If you have any questions about your immigration case, please contact our team of lawyers at +1 (410) 235-6868.