The Biden administration proposed new regulations that would limit the number of public benefits that can weigh against immigrants applying for permanent U.S. residency, or green cards.
Under the proposal, U.S. immigration caseworkers would only consider participation in income assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, as well as long-term government-funded institutionalization, when determining whether immigrant applicants could become a “public charge,” or economic burden, on the country.
Contrary to the standard imposed by the Trump administration, DHS will no longer consider “receipt of Medicaid, public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.” The proposed rule will “provide fair and humane treatment for noncitizens requesting admission to the United States or applying for lawful permanent residence from within the United States.”
In addition, the proposed rule will formally exempt several categories of noncitizens from public charge, including “refugees, asylees, noncitizens applying for or re-registering for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), special immigration juveniles, T and U nonimmigrants, and self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).” Nor will DHS consider “vaccines or public benefits specifically related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic” when making public charge determinations.
“The 2019 public charge rule was not consistent with our nation’s values,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.”