Latest Supreme Court Public Charge Rule

Public Charge Immigration Attorney Chicago

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on Saturday February 22, 2020 that USCIS can implement the new public charge rule in Illinois.  Giving no time for immigrants and their representatives to make any adjustments, USCIS has required implementation of the new public charge rule only two days later on February 24, 2020. 

What is Public Charge Rule?

Under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4), a foreign national entering the United States or needing to adjust status within the United States to become a permanent resident (obtaining a Green Card) is inadmissible if he or she “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge.”

Please note that the public charge rule does not apply to certain foreign nationals including, Asylees, Refugees, T and U visa applicants, and VAWA applicants.

Definition of Public Charge?

Under the Supreme Court final rule,  “Public Charge” is defined as a foreign national who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period (for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).   

Public Benefits under Public Charge Rule

Department of Homeland Security will only consider public benefits as listed in the rule, including:   

  • Supplemental Security Income;  
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; 
  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps); 
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program; 
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation);  
  • Public Housing (under the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.); and 
  • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions). 

Who will be affected by this new Public Charge Rule?

 While some foreign nationals in Illinois will not have any substantive legal impact from the ruling and lack of notice, others may have a significant legal impact. However, foreign nationals who reside in Illinois will see an impact as the new rule required USCIS to implement and change new forms for a number of immigration petitions.  

How does this new Public Charge Rule affect you?

With the implementation of this new public charge rule, if you are an Illinois resident, you will have to redo your petition if you’re filing for cases such immigration visa (green card), adjustment of status, affidavit of support, extend/change your non-immigrant status, or non-immigrant worker visa etc…

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) will reject your case if they do not receive the new edition of these forms. 

Contact your Immigration Attorney for help

Please note while this newly Supreme Court Decision was expected to take into effect on 2/24 in other States, Illinois was not scheduled to go into effect on the same day.   It is not the common practice by USCIS to implement a law with less than 48 hours’ notice.  Due to this unexpected implementation in Illinois, any affected petitions will need to revise their petitions accordingly starting February 24,2020.

 If you are considering filing an immigration visa (green card) or non-immigration visa for your family or employee, or extend or change your status, please make sure you include and sign the new forms relating to this USCIS public charge rule.  Or contact our Chicago Immigration lawyers for assistance. 

To learn more about the Public Charge Rule, click HERE.