Friday, February 25, 2022

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY PROPOSES NEW PUBLIC CHARGE RULE

The DHS has proposed a new “fair and humane” Public Charge rule meant to clarify its existing policy. The proposed rule is very similar to the current policy, but refines the forms of aid considered under the test.

Unlike the DHS’s 2019 attempt to enact a Public Charge rule intended to restrict immigration, the new proposal should not create additional hurdles for immigrants. Under the new proposal, only four specific forms of public assistance would be considered in a Public Charge determination:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Cash assistance for income maintenance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
  • State, Tribal, territorial, and local cash assistance for income maintenance; and
  • Long-term institutionalization at government expense. 

The DHS specifically excludes from the proposed rule:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program;
  • Most Medicaid benefits (except for long-term institutionalization at government expense;
  • Housing benefits;
  • Transportation vouchers;
  • Disaster assistance received under the Stafford Act;
  • Pandemic assistance;
  • Benefits received via a tax credit or deduction;
  • Social Security, government pensions, or other earned benefits.   

Additionally, specific categories of noncitizens would be exempted from public charge ground inadmissibility under the proposed rule, including:

  • Refugees and asylees;
  • TPS;
  • Special immigration juveniles;
  • T and U nonimmigrant;, and
  • Self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

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