Immigration Lawyers Advising Clients on Public Benefits

In its continuing efforts to block undocumented immigrants from obtaining lawful permanent residence in the U.S. the Trump Administration is proposing new rules regarding family members obtaining government benefits such as food stamps, medical benefits etc.

John Carrico
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and Immigration Services

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally posted a revised “public charge” rule in the Federal Register. The rule would force immigrant families to choose between vital services, such as medical care, and legal permanent residency, by drastically altering the process and criteria for determining whether a person is “likely to become a public charge.” Under the new guidelines, anyone who uses more than 15 percent of the poverty line in specified public benefits based on their household size could be deemed a public charge. This comes out to $2.50 per person, daily, per family of four.

By calculating “public charge” this way, even immigrants who are 95 percent self-sufficient could be found ineligible for permanent residence. In addition, DHS plans to measure an immigrant’s likelihood to use federal, state, or local safety net programs “depend[ing] on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.” Some factors it will consider are: one’s age, marriage, income, and being uninsured with a medical condition requiring extensive treatment. However, what is missing from the proposed rule are practical guidelines as to how USCIS adjudicators will weigh these factors.

If finalized as drafted, this vague new rule will only continue to bring pain and fear to immigrant families, while harming public health and failing to benefit the U.S. economy. Americans and immigrants alike should tell the administration why this rule is bad for our country. Public comments will be accepted until December 10, 2018.

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

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