In August 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility for immigrants whose application for a green card is processed in the United States. The rule applies a similar test to people seeking to extend or change their temporary status (such as student or employment visas) in the United States. Although scheduled to go into effect on October 15, the rule has been blocked temporarily by several federal courts.
If the new public charge rule goes into effect, it will make it much more difficult for low- and moderate-income families to make their lives in the United States if they are considered likely to use public benefits such as nutrition, housing and health care programs for which they may legally qualify. The Trump Administration’s version of the rule takes such a drastic view of what constitutes a benefit that if it were applied to the U.S.-born population—Americans who are not immigrants—roughly half might not be deemed acceptable to stay in the United States.
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