It is vital patients and their families continue to access medical care and other social services without fear of adverse immigration consequences as healthy families are better able to assimilate and contribute to the U.S. economy.
UPDATE < October 11, 2019> Federal Judge In N.Y. Blocks Trump's 'Public Charge' Rule On Green Cards READ HERE
Public Charge is a term used in immigration law to describe an individual who is dependent on the government for financial and material support. The likelihood that a person will become a public charge is considered when the U.S. State Department Embassy or Consular officers abroad review visa applications for entrance or re-entrance into the United States, as well as when USCIS reviews applications for legal permanent resident (LPR) status in the US (i.e. applying for a green card). When determining if a person is likely to become a public charge, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires the government to consider a variety of factors, including the person’s age, health, resources, family size, and education and skills.
The new rules around public charge, which become effective October 15, 2019, make it likely that legal immigrants will be denied Legal Permanent Residency (aka a Green Card) if they have used, or are considered likely to use, benefits such as regular Medicaid and SNAP.
The new rule adds specific factors that will be weighed in predicting whether a person is likely to receive those programs in the future. This includes an income test where earning under 125% of the federal poverty level ($32,188 for a family of four) would be weighed negatively. Children and seniors, people with a large family, limited English proficiency, or who have serious medical conditions also face barriers to immigrating under this rule. The listed programs are Medicaid (with exceptions for emergency services, and coverage for pregnant women and children under 21), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Section 8 housing vouchers, Project-based Section 8, Public Housing, as well as federal, state or local cash assistance programs (SSI, TANF, General Assistance).
DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on June 28, 2019, that it will grant the Trump administration’s request that it review the federal court cases challenging Trump’s termination of DACA. For now, the three U.S. district court orders allowing DACA recipients to submit renewal applications remain in effect, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is still accepting DACA renewal applications from anyone who has previously had DACA.
RENEWAL APPLICATIONS ARE STILL BEING ACCEPTED. On January 13, 2018, USCIS announced that it is once again accepting DACA renewal applications, because of an order issued by a U.S. district court in California. The court order was issued in a case challenging the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program. A frequently-asked-questions document authored by NILC and United We Dream and based on the Jan. 13 announcement is available below.
USCIS stopped accepting first-time DACA applications (that is, applications from people who didn’t already have DACA) as of October 6, 2017. Under the government’s DACA-termination memo, people who already had DACA and whose work permits would expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, were eligible to apply for a two-year renewal if they applied by Oct. 5, 2017. Court orders in the California case and a similar case in New York, along with USCIS’s Jan. 13 announcement, have made it possible, again, for people who have DACA now or who’ve had it in the past to submit DACA renewal applications.
- Joint Statement Opposing Public Charge
- DHS Announces New Proposed Immigration Rule
- CPCA Public Charge Resources Page
- Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future (PIF)
- National Immigration Law Center
- National Immigration Law Center (DACA page)
- CPCA (DACA page)
- California Immigrant Policy Center