On Wednesday, July 29, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued two orders halting the application of public charge changes that were implemented in the last few years. These orders have nationwide effect during the COVID-19 emergency.
First, the court enjoined USCIS from applying the 8/14/2019 USCIS Final Rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The court also enjoined the Department of State (DOS) from applying certain revisions to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) added in 2018, the 10/11/2019 DOS Interim Final Rule on Visa Ineligibility on Public Charge Grounds, and President Trump's 10/4/2019 Proclamation Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System in Order to Protect the Availability of Healthcare Benefits for Americans.
USCIS has responded to the court's injunction stating that for applications and petitions it adjudicates on or after July 29, 2020, it will not consider any information provided by an applicant or petitioner that relates to the Public Charge Rule, including information provided on the Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits in Part 5 on Form I-539, Part 3 on Form I-539A or Part 6 on Form I-129. Additionally, for applications or petitions postmarked on or after July 29, 2020, applicants and petitioners should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits on Form I-485, Form I-129, or Form I-539/I-539A.
You can view the USCIS response here: https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/public-charge/injunction-of-the-inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds-final-rule#:~:text=Injunction%20of%20the%20Inadmissibility%20on%20Public%20Charge%20Grounds%20Final%20Rule,-On%20July%2029&text=On%20Feb.%2024%2C%202020%2C,on%20or%20after%20that%20date
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has not yet responded to the court's order.
“Public charge” is a ground of inadmissibility that can result in a person being denied a green card, visa, or admission to the United States. Although this ground of inadmissibility has been a part of the immigration laws for a long time, its implementation has undergone many changes, particularly in the past few years, making the immigration process more challenging for many people. If you or a loved one are applying for U.S. immigration benefits, it is crucial to comply with current rules and policies in order to avoid denial of the benefit you seek.
Our attorneys can assist you with questions regarding changes to the public charge rules and policies, as well as with your other immigration matters. Contact our office in Ormond Beach Florida at (386) 506-8898 to schedule a virtual consultation.