The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The announcement will help reduce fear and confusion among immigrants and U.S. citizens. This will ensure fair and consistent adjudications for those seeking admission to the United States.
Under the rule, which is effective 105 days after it is published in the Federal Register, a noncitizen would be considered likely at any time to become a public charge if DHS determines that they are likely at any time to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This determination will be based on:
- The noncitizen’s age; health; family status; assets, resources, financial status; education and skills, as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- The noncitizen’s filing of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, submitted on a noncitizen’s behalf when one is required.
- The noncitizen’s prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.
Most noncitizens who are eligible for public benefits are not subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The final rule would generally not affect noncitizens who have already become lawful permanent residents, as they are generally not subject to public charge inadmissibility determinations.
Some categories of noncitizens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, including refugees, asylees, noncitizens applying for or re-registering for Temporary Protected Status, special immigration juveniles, T and U nonimmigrants, and self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act.