USCIS has announced the new Public Charge Rule will become effective on February 24, 2020, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has lifted the injunction.
This Rule affects legal immigrants (those who are legally in the United States and those who are seeking admission to the United States) and illegal immigrants (who have never been eligible for the benefits covered by the Rule).
The Rule will be felt primarily by lower-income legal immigrants, but it also will affect those with higher incomes who are elderly or who, due to illness, pregnancy, and other temporary disabilities, may have taken advantage of benefits, such as prescription drug subsidies, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or housing assistance.
According to USCIS:
- The Rule will apply to all applications and petitions postmarked on or after February 24, 2020. For applications and petitions sent by commercial courier, the postmark date is the date on the courier receipt.
- USCIS will start to issue new forms that include public charge queries during the week of February 3, 2020.
- “Old” forms submitted after February 24, 2020, will not be accepted and applicants and petitioners will be told to submit the “new” forms.
- The Rule will not apply to benefits received prior to February 24, 2020.
- The Rule does not apply in Illinois (at this point) where an injunction is still in place.
USCIS plans to issue guidance on the implementation of the Rule starting the week of February 3, 2020.
Taken as a whole, the public-charge rule stands to slow the integration of immigrant families, overturn state choices regarding the services they have opted to provide to their residents, and to alter the composition of future immigration to the United States—all without the benefit of endorsement or direction from Congress.