On the same day that the public fee rule came into effect (February 24, 2020), immigrant lawyers were briefed at Boston City Hall to try to alleviate the uncertainty and fear that has spread to immigrant communities.
The Administration indicated that the public indictment “[R]ule will protect hard-working American taxpayers, secure welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the federal deficit, and restore the basic legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-sufficient and not dependent on the large number of US taxpayers. ”However, Proponents of immigration see the rule as “punishing poverty” and seizing the opportunity to free yourself from immigrants, a group of people that has historically been an important part of our country and our economy.
Previously, this rule mainly affected those who received cash benefits. However, the new regulation will make admission to the US more difficult for low-income immigrants and non-immigrants who receive other non-cash benefits. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that the public fee rule should determine whether a person is likely to receive certain government benefits in the future. To make this determination, officials review the entirety of the circumstances, including income, age, health, marital status, assets, creditworthiness, liabilities, education and skills (including English) that were applied for Visa classification and obtaining public benefits. Some factors serve as “negative” factors, others as “positive” factors.
Receiving certain public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period (after February 24, 2020) is definitely a negative factor (unless the person was in the military or was a child of an applicant with US at the time of entry -Citizenship ). These public benefits include:
- Additional Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary help for families in need (TANF)
- Federal, state, or local income maintenance programs
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, a.k.a., “food brands”)
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
- Project-based rental support
- Medicaid (with certain exceptions, also for emergencies, for foreigners under the age of 21 or women during pregnancy)
- Subsidized Public Housing (Section 9)
Other heavily weighted negative factors are:
- The applicant is not a full-time student and, despite a work permit, has no current job, no recent employment history, or no reasonable prospect of employment.
- The applicant has a diagnosed condition that is likely to require extensive medical treatment or institutionalization and has no financial means to pay for it. or
- The applicant was previously found inadmissible on the grounds of public charges.
The heavily weighted positive factors include:
- Household income, assets, resources, or sponsorship from at least 250 percent of the population Federal poverty guidelines ($ 65,500 for a family of four);
- US employment history with annual income of at least 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; or
- The applicant has private health insurance for use in the United States that covers the period that the applicant is likely to remain in the United States.
If status adjustment applicants or other people applying for immigration or non-immigration visas are subject to the public stress test, they may need to provide a significant amount of financial information on both Form I-944, Declaration of Self-sufficiency, or Form DS-5540, public fee questionnaire.
These groups of people are not subjected to the public stress test:
Jackson Lewis attorneys are ready to assist you in navigating the new rule, determining whether to fill out these forms and how best to present your case.
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