Picture of Jean-Noel Ben Hamou

Jean-Noel Ben Hamou

Executive Managing Partner
Chair, Global Practice Group

U.S. IMMIGRATION NEWS: USCIS to Implement Public Charge Grounds Rule Following Supreme Court Ruling

On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in lifting the preliminary injunction issued by a federal district judge in New York. The injunction intended to block the implementation of the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds (“the Final Rule”) nationwide while pending litigation.

The Final Rule was originally set to be implemented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on October 15, 2019, after being released on August 14, 2019, but was blocked by nationwide injunctions from federal judges in different states. The State of Illinois is the only state with an ongoing injunction, as it pertains to their specific jurisdiction, and as such will not be subject to the Final Rule implementation.

The Final Rule provides a revised definition of public charge, including the addition of an expanded list of benefits that are considered public benefits, and provides immigration officers with wider discretion on consideration of weighted factors when determining if an alien is inadmissible based on the public charge rule. The Final Rule also grants USCIS the authority to allow immigrants to post a public charge bond, should they be permissible otherwise, and provides that nonimmigrants must prove they have not received public benefits since their admission when extending or changing their status.

As the stay of injunction has been granted, starting February 24, 2020 the Final Rule will be implemented while pending litigation is ongoing.

USCIS previously posted forms with the inclusion of language to ensure compliance with the public charge rule for all applications but were removed during the injunction. As such, USCIS will post new forms, submission instructions, and policy manual guidance this week.

After February 24, 2020, USCIS will begin to reject any petition that does not follow the regulations, including the utilization of the correct forms.

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