Resources on Public Charge

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The Biden campaign listed a number of immigration-related priorities that his presidency would tackle if elected. Most of these could be accomplished through executive orders, regulations, or changes to policies and procedures rather than requiring legislation.

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This digest tracks public charge developments in reverse chronological order and includes links to additional related resources where applicable. This resource will be updated regularly.

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Under the new Department of Homeland Security regulations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may consider a noncitizen’s assets, resources, and financial status as one factor when determining whether the individual is likely to become a public charge. As part of that evaluation, USCIS may consider the noncitizen’s credit history and credit score and other evidence of the noncitizen’s liabilities.

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This chart summarizes the positive and negative factors that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of State will consider in assessing whether an individual is inadmissible as likely to become a public charge.

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Under new Department of Homeland Security and Department of State regulations, having health insurance is a positive factor in determining whether an adjustment of status or immigrant visa applicant is likely to become a public charge. This resource reviews the types of health insurance that may be available to intending immigrants, how each type of insurance is viewed by DHS and DOS, and the types of documentation that must be submitted to show enrollment or future enrollment in a health insurance policy.

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The Department of State (DOS) announced that it will implement its final rule on public charge beginning on February 24, 2020. It recently published changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) on public charge and the final version of Form DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire.

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USCIS has announced that the new regulations will affect applications for adjustment of status postmarked on or after February 24, 2020.

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS), recently published Part G – Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility in the USCIS Policy Manual as part of the agency’s implementation of the final public charge regulations. USCIS has announced that the new regulations will affect applications for adjustment of status postmarked on or after February 24, 2020. Overall, the new regulations and accompanying guidance will make it much more difficult for an applicant for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa to show that he or she is not likely to become a public charge.

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DHS Final Rule on Public Charge – The Supreme Court on Jan. 27, 2020 issued a “stay” that temporarily lifted an injunction issued by a New York court barring the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, from implementing its final rule defining the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, can now implement this final rule when it adjudicates applications for adjustment of status.

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On Aug. 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued final regulations that dramatically change the assessment of public charge inadmissibility. Although the rule was enjoined by five district courts, the Supreme Court on Jan. 27, 2020 stayed the only nationwide injunction that had been in effect. That means that the agency is now able to implement the final rule throughout the United States except for Illinois, where a statewide injunction of the rule is still in effect. USCIS has announced that the new rules affect adjustment applications postmarked on or after Feb.

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CLINIC submitted comments in response and oppostion to the State Department’s Interim Final Rule, or IFR, titled “Visas: Ineligibility Based on Public Charge Grounds,” DOS-2019-0035; RIN: 1400-AE87. The State Department issued the IFR on Oct. 15, 2019, with the purported reason of aligning DOS’s public charge standards with those of the Department of Homeland Security. The rule went into effect on Oct. 15. However, the State Department has indicated that it will not implement the IFR until the related forms are approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

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The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Boundless Immigration, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the National Immigration Law Center joined in requesting the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services delay the implementation of the Public Charge Rule. As of the date of this letter, USCIS has failed to publish forms and instructions regarding the implementation of the new rule. 

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CLINIC, along with several New York and national-level nonprofit organizations, filed suit on Aug. 27 in the federal court for the Southern District of New York to challenge the Trump administration’s final rule on public charge.

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The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, published its final rule on Public Charge on Aug. 14, 2019. This is one of three related public charge rules. We expect to hear more soon about the other two from the Department of State and the Department of Justice. Below are the main messages you can use when asked to speak about this DHS Public Charge rule to your community, your church congregations, the media, or any group that is interested to learn about this policy change.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its final rule on public charge in the Federal Register on Aug. 14. For a description of the public charge rule and its likely impacts, see CLINIC’s summary and FAQs.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its much-anticipated version of its final changes to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The agency has targeted an implementation date of October 15, 2019 when the new regulations will take effect. The following summary is based on language in a pre-publication version that was made available to the public today.

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Both the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) took major steps in 2018 to alter the assessment of the public charge ground of inadmissibility.  This FAQ addresses common issues of concern for intending immigrants regarding recent changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and proposed changes to the public charge regulations.

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CLINIC is among the more than 210,000 organizations and individuals that submitted comments in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s Notice of Public Rule Making (NPRM) entitled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” CLINIC opposes the NPRM, which would drastically change the definition and scope of the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

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On November 19, 2018 the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA, held that an applicant for adjustment of status who was admitted on a K-1 visa, fulfilled the terms of the visa by marrying the petitioner within the required 90 day period, and was later divorced, must submit an affidavit of support from the K-1 petitioner to establish that he or she is not inadmissible as a public charge.  Matter of Song, 27 I&N Dec. 488 (BIA 2018).

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Use this toolkit to learn more about the public comment process and to organize your own public comment event! It’s easy to do and you can make a difference.

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On Saturday, DHS posted on its website the text of its much-anticipated proposed rule re-defining public charge.

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With no fanfare and little public notice, the Department of State (DOS) has amended the Foreign Affairs manual (FAM) to increase the burden of satisfying the public charge ground of inadmissibility for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants.

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This article covers the review and adjudication of the affidavit of support by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department. Each agency applies a slightly different procedure, as seen in an “assessment letter” currently used by the National Visa Center and the Request for Initial Evidence used by USCIS. Bear in mind that each agency’s analysis and interpretation of the requirements, as well as its communication with the sponsor, is subject to frequent change.

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Since 1997, immigration law has required every petitioner in a family-based petition to complete an affidavit of support on behalf of the intending immigrant. The sponsor must either demonstrate the means to maintain an annual income equal to at least 125 percent of the federal poverty income line or obtain a joint sponsor who can meet that threshold.

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Even though the current affidavit of support rules were implemented almost 20 years ago, and practitioners have been operating with final regulations for the last nine years, CLINIC continues to experience a steady stream of questions and requests for assistance from affiliates attempting to complete the I-864.