Public Charge Bond

March 12, 2019

Are you trying to figure out if your friend or relative can stay in the U.S. or get on the path to citizenship?

It seems there are so many changes to immigration law and regulations that it’s hard to keep up. The Trump Administration has held firm in its commitment to crack down on immigration to the U.S., impacting millions of families.

One of those changes is the public charge rule change. That has the power to impact many more families and most don’t even know it.

Read on to find out more about what public charge is and how your loved ones might be impacted.


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What is Public Charge?

At its most basic level, a public charge is an immigrant who is dependent on the government for cash assistance. Cash assistance can be defined as “Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and state or local cash assistance programs for income maintenance, often called “general assistance” programs.”

The catch here is that if you are receiving cash assistance, or are likely to need cash assistance (become a public charge), that is grounds for denial of a green card or admission into the United States.

In some cases, like receiving disaster relief isn’t considered a public charge. If you’re a current green card holder, you can still become a U.S. citizen despite receiving public assistance.

This was always a guideline to ensure that you can support yourself financially. It’s a common provision that many countries use when evaluating visa applicants and those seeking permanent residency.

Public Charge Rule Change

In September 2018, the Department of Homeland Security proposed rule changes to revamp the public charge rule and how it’s evaluated.

It gives the US Immigration Services a lot of leeway in determining whether or not someone is likely to become a public charge or not. They are essentially saying that you have to prove that you can completely support yourself and pay for your family and healthcare.

They will look at your entire financial history and your ability to earn an income. They’ll ask if you have preexisting health conditions that you may not be able to pay for. It’s a much more strict process that will impact a lot of families.

In the 60-day period for public comments, there were over 266,000 comments made about the proposal.

At this point, the public charge rule change is only in the proposal stage. It has yet to become a permanent rule change. If it were to pass in its current form, people seeking to enter the United States or change their residency status would be impacted.

Keep Watch on Upcoming Changes

Immigration law has become more complex and complicated over the last couple of years, with the Trump administration taking aim at immigrants.

The public charge rule change is only in the proposal stage, but if it were to go into effect, the reach would be far and wide.

If you have a friend or relative facing the prospect of immigration court, read this article to find out what you can expect.

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