Changed Public Charge Policy Brings Some Relief

A March 9th decision by the Biden Administration and the United States Supreme Court will be of far-reaching benefit to immigrants and their families.

In 2019, the previous administration established a new Public Charge Rule, which made receipt of benefits (Medicaid, SSI, TANF, SNAP, or Section 8) a barrier when petitioning for a green card, visa, or admission into the United States. This forced families to decide between their well-being and their having a permanent, secure future together.

Since 2019, this new Rule has been challenged in federal courts, requiring the federal government to defend it. This month, the Biden Administration withdrew petitions for review, effectively abandoning the 2019 Public Charge Rule. The Supreme Court responded by dismissing the pending appeals.

As a result, not only has the United States ended this punitive policy, but the prior court ruling remains the law of the land: the 2019 Public Charge Rule is prohibited as an illegal “wealth test” that penalizes individuals for accessing benefits and services to which they are entitled.

Immigrant families across the country can now access healthcare, food, and housing assistance without fearing that it will hinder their ability to obtain permanent residence. This is a cause for relief and hope, particularly at a time when communities are experiencing great need.

Changes in federal immigration policy, both positive and negative, are a source of stress and confusion. If asked, encourage those you know to seek a legal consultation from an immigration attorney or DOJ accredited representative. LP’s immigration legal services hotline remains open Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 4:00pm. Anyone with questions can call (773) 542-7077, Ext. 10.

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