There are two public charge provisions: a ground ofinadmissibility, and a ground of deportability. The first applies toindividuals, seeking entry to the United States. The second applies to those,who are already present in the U.S.
In the light of recent changes to immigration policy and, specifically, to the “public charge” rule, it is important to understand the definition of “public charge” for immigration purposes, and what public benefits are considered in the public charge determination.
Currently, the guidance defines a “public charge” as a person who becomes or is likely to become primarily dependent on either of two types of public benefits: (1) public cash assistance for income maintenance, or (2) government-funded institutionalization for long-term care (See USCIS Public Charge Fact Sheet, supra note 7; 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(1); infra notes 22-23).
Thus, under the new guideline, “public charge” rule would only affect those individual who receive government support in the form of cash income-maintenance benefits and government-funded institutionalization for long-term care (USCIS Public Charge Fact Sheet, supra note 7).
Common public benefits, such as food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid (other than long-term institutional care), housing benefits, children’s health insurance program (CHIP), and some other non-cash benefits are not considered in the determination of “public charge”. For a full list of public benefits, please check CRS Issues FAQs on “Public Charge”.
Even though the list of public benefits that trigger a “public charge” determination might be expanded in future, as of now, there is no reason for families to withdraw from programs or benefits that currently aren’t used to determine public charge.
If you are concerned about the new “public charge” ruleand how it affects your chances of becoming a permanent resident and/or U.S.citizen, please consult with experience immigration attorneys at Root LawGroup. Call us today to schedule your free in-office consultation.