Updated Public Charge Rule Won’t Apply to Many Foreign-Born Residents
Last summer, the United States Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated policy related to the “public charge” rule aimed to limit immigration benefits for people using certain federal programs.
A public charge is defined as an individual who relies primarily on government programs to meet certain basic needs such as housing, food or healthcare. Among the programs that are used to determine public charge status, the current federal law includes Targeted Aid for Needy Families (TANF) (otherwise known as CalWORKS in California) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Starting February 24, 2020, the Public Charge Founds rule will go into effect, but the pool of immigrants who are potentially subject to this rule is very narrow.
The rule only applies to immigrants who are in the process of adjusting their current status from a temporary to a permanent lawful immigration status and excludes most of the lawful immigration populations such as Legal Permanent Aliens, Asylees, Refugees, Special Immigrant Juveniles (who can claim a rightful separation from their immigrant parents due to domestic violence, neglect or abandonment), VAWA and U visa holders as well as victims of human trafficking who have an open criminal case against their perpetrators.
Almost all minors under the age of 21 are not impacted by this rule and certainly no child on public benefits—US-born or otherwise—could cause any parent to be subject to this rule.
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