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Trump’s Public Charge Rule Vacated by Supreme Court; Rule Returns to Its Original Intent

The Law Office of Travis Helm, LLC

March 19, 2021

The “public charge” inadmissibility test has been part of the federal immigration law for over a hundred years. It is designed to identify people who may depend on the government as their main source of support in the future. If an immigration or consular official determines that someone is likely to become a “public charge,” the government can deny that person’s application for admission to the United States or an application for lawful permanent resident status (LPR status, also known as “green card”).

On August 14, 2019, The Trump administration issued a final rule amending the regulations to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The Trump rule sought to greatly restrict lawful family-based immigration and put into place a complicated, multi-factor, definition of what it means to be found a “public charge.” Trump’s public charge rule was challenged and blocked by federal courts. The public charge challenge was before the Supreme Court of the United States when presidential administrations changed from Trump to Biden. On March 9th, 2021, the Biden administration informed the Supreme Court that the government no longer supports the Trump rule and would not defend the challenge in court.

USCIS is no longer applying the August 2019 Trump Public Charge Final Rule. USCIS will apply the public charge inadmissibility statue consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance. In other words, USCIS is not considering an applicant’s receipt of Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part to the public charge inadmissibility determination. If an applicant or petitioner already provided information related to the Public Charge Final Rule, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after March 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including, for example, information provided on Form I-944 and evidence or documentation submitted with Form I-944.

USCIS has removed content related to the vacated 2019 Public Charge Final Rule from the affected USCIS forms and has posted updated versions of affected forms. Current editions of Form I-864 and Form I-485 will be accepted until April 18, 2021. Beginning April 19, 2021, USCIS will only accept the new editions for these forms.

If you are considering family-based immigration matters and have questions about the public charge ground of inadmissibility or other concerns about the matter, please contact our office to discuss:

The Law Office of Travis Helm, LLC

121 Grand Ave., Suite 212

Laramie, WY 82070

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