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The controversial “Public Charge” rule comes into force. This is what you should know

This Monday, February 24, the new public charge rule came into effect. Rule that will regulate, from now on, how the officials of the federal government of the United States will determine whether or not to grant an immigration benefit, for example: a visa, an extension of the term of stay or a permanent legal residence (green card ).

This new and controversial policy changes for the first time a system that was implemented in 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson, promulgated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which regulates the immigration system and determines who are the foreigners who can enter and stay in the country.

Until now, the process to obtain a visa or residency required foreigners to demonstrate that they had the resources to pay their expenses and not depend on the government. But the new rule adds other factors, for example age, health status or educational level.

These are the keys to understanding what the new public charge rule is about:

What is it?

In September of last year, the Trump administration unveiled plans to make it difficult for foreigners who have applied for public assistance or subsidies, such as food stamps, to approve visas, change status, or legal permanent residency requests. housing assistance or cash.

Thanks to this new rule, the government from now on will have more flexibility when it comes to denying visas or residences if the applicants or members of their family are going to benefit from public aid, among them, for example: Medicaid, food programs for children or food vouchers.

Who will be the most affected?

Immigrants who are chronically ill, old, poorly educated, or low-income are on the top list affected by the new ‘public charge’ rule.

Different organizations assure that if the applicants are too old or sick, if they do not have the appropriate studies and the officials in charge of authorizing the visa or residence consider that they can become a ‘public charge’, it is most likely that they will deny the Procedure.

The new rule radically alters the way USCIS officials and the State Department will select visa or green card applicants for inadmissibility due to the new definition of ‘Public Charge’, warns a study prepared by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), one of the largest pro-immigrant organizations in the country.

What benefits will be taken into account?

According to CLINIC these are the non-monetary benefits that, if they were or are received during the last three years, would become a negative factor:

  • Subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act;
  • Medicaid (non-emergency services);
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps);
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP or SCHIP);
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • Housing assistance;
  • Energy benefits (such as help to pay for electric power); and,
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (when it exceeds the tax liability).

Other public aid that can be considered a negative factor are:

  • You are of working age, you are authorized to work, but you are currently unemployed;
  • You have no employment history or reasonable prospects for future employment;
  • He currently receives public benefits;
  • You have received public benefits for more than six months in the last three years;
  • You have an expensive medical condition and you do not have unsubsidized health insurance or other apparent means of paying for the costs of treatment; or
  • You have a spouse or parent who is the primary beneficiary and who has been declared inadmissible based on ‘Public Charge’.

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