What change did USCIS make to the public charge rule to avoid the “punishment” of immigrants who apply for a ‘green card’ and other benefits

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USCIS seeks to prevent the “punishment” of immigrants who asked for help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) clarified immigrants who asked for government help to face the COVID-19 pandemic will not be “punished” with the public charge rule.

[Se hacen cambios] to help reduce unnecessary fear and confusion among immigrants and their families […] that may prevent them from gaining access to critical government services available to them,” the agency noted.

These adjustments do not mean that USCIS officials stop implementing public charge in immigration processes, such as the application for a ‘green card’, because Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration Law must be taken into consideration and Nationality (INA) in accordance with the 1999 guide.

USCIS’ approach is that non-citizens who obtained public benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be excluded from the public charge review.

“We remain committed to restoring confidence in our legal immigration system,” the agency said.

The policy takes into consideration the President’s Executive Order 14012 Joe Bidenwhich seeks to improve the immigration legal system.

“We will ensure that immigrants and their families, many of whom are frontline and essential workers, are not deterred by unnecessary fear or confusion from gaining access to important government services for which they are eligible to keep their families safe. and healthy,” he said.

It is emphasized that immigrants who have applied for food assistance, medical support and housing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic would not have “negative consequences” at the time their immigration petitions are processed.

USCIS is working on a new public charge rule –published in the Federal Register on February 24, 2022–, which is under review, after receiving public comments.

The most important adjustment that is expected is to focus the “punishment” on immigrants who ask for cash to the government for a long period.

“DHS proposes not to consider non-cash benefits, such as food and nutrition assistance programs,” USCIS said in February of this year.

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