January 27, 2020
The Trump Administration announced last August that it would make broad changes to the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, which would make it harder for poor immigrants to become permanent residents. As we wrote in August when the changes were announced:
The public charge ground of inadmissibility is not new, having been in existence since the 1880s and codified under INA § 212(a)(4), which states that an individual is inadmissible to the United States if he or she is “likely to become a public charge”. Up until now, this has been defined narrowly to affect those who are primarily dependent or will become primarily dependent on a finite list of public benefits and programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and Medicaid used exclusively for long-term care. This new rule broadens the scope significantly both regarding who is affected and what constitutes “likely to become a public charge.”
However, in what has become routine with the Trump administration’s attempts to unilaterally set immigration policy, a federal judge issued an injunction on the order, preventing the changes from taking effect. Today, the Supreme Court lifted that injunction in a 5-4 vote, allowing USCIS to begin implementing the updated rule. USCIS has not yet offered guidance on when to expect the new rule to be implemented.
This is a developing story – please check back for updates.
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