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OIS News - 10/4/2018

Introduction of Proposed Rule of Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

On September 22, 2018, USCIS announced a proposed regulation that would expand the criteria to determine whether or not individuals seeking to enter and remain in the U.S. (either temporarily or permanently) can financially support themselves and not be considered a “public charge”. Current immigration law requires that federal agencies, such as USCIS and the Department of State, determine whether individuals are considered inadmissible to the U.S. if there is a likelihood they could become a “public charge” at any point in the future. As such, those seeking to immigrate to the U.S. must demonstrate that they should not be considered a public charge by submitting evidence reflecting they will be able support themselves financially.

Under the proposed rule found here, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing to expand the criteria upon which an individual could be considered a public charge to include those who previously or currently are recipients of designated public benefits such as Medicaid, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), and Section 8 Housing benefits, amongst other federal, state, local, and tribal benefits. The proposed rule would require USCIS adjudicators to make a prospective determination based on the totality of the circumstances analysis and consider the expanded criteria when determining the likelihood of an individual being an eventual “public charge,” and to review such evidence on accompanying Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency. The proposed rule may impact some Form I-539 Applications to Change or Extend Status filings and employment-based Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker filing (e.g. H-1B classification), and would apply to all I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications. The proposed rule would not apply to asylees, refugees, or other vulnerable classes of individuals. 

DHS is required by law to utilize notice-and-comment rulemaking and consider and respond to public comments before finalizing any rule.  The public comment period will last 60 days, commencing the day the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. Any final “public charge” rule and associated Form I-944 is not expected until 2019 at the earliest. 

Questions? Feel free to contact the Office of International Services.