On March 9, 2021, the Biden Administration rescinded the public charge rule in another reversal of Trump-era restrictive immigration policy. Under the now-rescinded policy, the government could deny applications for green cards, temporary non-immigrant status, and citizenship, if the government found they relied on – or were at risk of relying on – public benefits.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas announced that DHS would no longer defend the public charge rule against a court challenge filed while Trump was still in office, deeming it “neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.”
DHS will revert to public charge rules from the 1990s, which would not consider immigrants that receive Medicaid, public housing, or SNAP benefits as a public charge. In a public statement, Secretary Mayorkas stated that “the 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them.”
This rescission comes as long-awaited and welcome news to immigrant families – as many avoided medical treatment amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in fear of risking their immigration status.
USCIS will issue updated guidance on the affected forms (I-485, I-129, I-129CW, I-539, and I-539A). In the interim, USCIS will not reject the above forms based on whether the public benefits questions in those forms have been answered or left blank. Those issued RFEs and NOIDs will not have to submit information/documents solely required by the public charge rule. However, all other requests raised in the RFE/NOID must be answered. You should continue to work with your Klasko attorney to determine what you will need to provide in response to any RFEs and NOIDs.
Please contact your Klasko attorney if you have any questions about this Client Alert.
The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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