What Should I Know About Case Dismissals Concerning the Public Charge Rule?
The Biden administration recently changed a 2019 rule that limited the admission of immigrants deemed probable public charges. In the past, the term public charge was interpreted as a person who would likely become dependent on cash benefits on immigrating into the United States. The government could deny these people admission. In 2019, the Trump administration broadened the definition of public charge to include immigrants who would likely become dependent on non-cash benefits, such as Medicaid, supplemental nutrition, and federal housing assistance.
In addition, they included anyone who depended on government benefits for 12 months in any three-year period under the definition. They also added financial resources, employment history, age, health, and education as assessment criteria. A series of lower-court lawsuits eventually blocked this 2019 rule, and on appeal by the Trump administration, the Supreme Court agreed to review the cases. Recently, the Justice Department notified the Supreme Court that the Biden administration would no longer defend the 2019 policy and that the court should dismiss pending appeals cases. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the cases.
President Biden intends to change the 2019 policy and has ordered federal agencies to review it. Anyone affected by this rule change should reach out to an experienced immigration lawyer for guidance.
What Does the Public Charge Case Dismissal Mean for Immigrants?
As of March 9, 2021, the 2019 public charge rule is no longer in effect, meaning as of this date:
- Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence applicants no longer need to submit Form I-944, the declaration of self-sufficiency, and related documentation.
- Those applying for non-immigrant status changes and stay extensions do not need to respond to questions about their receipt of public benefits.
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not consider information that was solely required by the 2019 public charge rule for those whose applications and petitions were pending on March 9, 2021,
Which Type of Visa Should I Consider?
The USCIS oversees immigration and approves or denies immigrant petitions. Anyone who wishes to enter the United States must be approved for a visa. The following are the most common types of visas but is not an exhaustive list:
- Family-based visas: To be eligible to apply for this visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a relative who is at least 21 years old and is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent U.S. resident. There are currently two types of family-based immigrant visas:
- Immediate relative: When the sponsor is a U.S. citizen and files an immigration visa petition for their qualifying spouse, child, parent, or sibling.
- Family preference: When the sponsor is a U.S. citizen but a more distant relative or when the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and sponsors a spouse or unmarried son or daughter.
- Employment-based visas: Often, a U.S. employer will sponsor an employee’s green card through a job or employment offer. A green card makes the employee an LPR. Workers who are not sponsored can apply for one of the following preference-based visas:
- First preference EB-1: Workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; or certain multinational managers and executives.
- Second preference EB-2: Workers with advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability in EB-1 professions.
- Third preference EB-3: Foreign nationals deemed skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
- Fourth preference EB-4: Special immigrant workers, such as religious workers, neglected/abused juveniles, retired officers or employees of certain international organizations or NATO, and specific family members.
- Fifth preference EB-5: Immigrant investors who have invested or are in the process of investing at least $500,000 in targeted employment areas in a new commercial enterprise to benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time positions.
- Adoption-based visas: There are three pathways to bring an internationally adopted child to the United States. Criteria are specific, so it is a good idea to consult with an immigration lawyer for these types of visas.
- Diversity immigrant visa (DV): This program distributes 50,000 immigrant visas annually, drawn from a lottery of people from countries with low immigration rates to the United States. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) administers this program.
Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the MC Law Group, LLC Support Immigrants and Their Families
If you have questions or concerns about the changes in the public charge rule, the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC are available to help. Our lawyers understand the complexities of immigration law. We are ready to get to work for you and your family. For a free consultation, call us at 215-496-0690 or complete our online form. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.