“Public Charge” Rule published
As reported in earlier Updates, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to change the way in which determinations are made about the likelihood that an immigrant will become a “public charge,” and thus should not be admitted to the US or granted a green card. An explanation and draft of the proposed rule were published by DHS on September 22, but the proposed rule was not officially published in the Federal Register until October 10. Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted on Regulations.gov through December 10 at 11:59 pm EST.

Under the proposed rule, more individuals will be labeled as a potential “public charge,” in part because immigration officials can consider whether a visa or green-card applicant has used a number of public programs during the previous three years (beginning after the final rule has gone into effect). These programs include SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid (with certain exceptions), housing assistance, and Medicare Part D low-income assistance. Receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and assistance for long-term institutional care are already considered in making “public charge” determinations under current law.

The DHS is seeking comment on whether to include CHIP enrollment as part of public-charge determinations, and in general how to treat receipt of public benefits by children. See page 51174 of the October 10 Federal Register.

A short explanation of the proposed rule can be found in the September 26 Washington Update.

The Center for Law and Social Policy has prepared a thorough explanation of the proposed rule with Frequently Asked Questions. See also:

Family Voices Immigration Toolkit
The Family Voices Immigration Toolkit includes everything families, physicians and other professionals need to know about providing medical information to immigration officials, which may be needed to argue for allowing a child with special health care needs or the child’s parent to stay in the US.

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