January 31, 2020

NEWSFLASH: USCIS Announces Implementation of Public Charge Rule

Beginning February 24, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charges Ground final rule, except in the State of Illinois.

This means that USCIS will only apply the final rule to applications and petitions postmarked (or, if applicable, submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020. Further, USCIS will post updated forms and submission instructions during the week of February 3. USCIS will reject prior editions of forms if postmarked on or after February 24, except in Illinois.

The final rule gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to deny green cards/lawful permanent residence (LPR) status to immigrants who have accessed, or are deemed likely to access, public benefits such as Medicaid, food vouchers, and public housing. Immigration advocates have widely criticized the new regulation as a "wealth test" that effectively makes legal immigration pathways more inaccessible for poor immigrants.

The Trump administration first introduced the regulation in August 2019, but a nationwide injunction had prevented the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing it until now. In a 5-4 ruling on January 27, the Supreme Court allowed DHS to proceed.

Read the full USCIS news release here.