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What Is the "Public Charge" Rule?

immigration visa and a pen

In 1882, Congress established the public charge concept to deny a U.S. visa to anyone who is "likely at any time to become a public charge." Under the Trump administration, the "Public Charge" rule is being interpreted broadly to reduce the number of people who are eligible for green cards and other visas. The Orange County immigration attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates explain what the "Public Charge" rule means and how it might affect you.

The "Public Charge" Rule

A public charge is someone who would primarily depend on the government to sustain themselves. For example, this would include a person who would use public cash assistance for income maintenance or long-term care at the government's expense.

On February 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented a new Public Charge rule that applies nationwide. This new rule affects people who are applying for green cards and visas who currently reside in the United States.

Common forms of government dependence include:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Welfare
  • General Assistance (state or local cash assistance)
  • Medicaid or other long-term medical programs

How Will the New "Public Charge" Rule Affect Me?

The new changes made to the Public Charge rule shouldn't drastically affect those applying for a green card. Few immigrants have been denied a green card under the public charge rule because Congress already prohibits green card applicants from using welfare. Congress also requires green card applicants to have a financial sponsor to demonstrate that they won't become dependent on government benefits in the future.

Orange County Immigration Attorneys

If you are facing immigration issues in Orange County, you can contact an experienced attorney who can provide you with strong and effective legal advocacy. Our compassionate immigration attorneys are here to help you obtain the best possible results for your immigration case. While other firms overload their lawyers or run their practices like factories, our team works to meet our clients' unique needs at a higher standard.

If you need help navigating through immigration laws, contact our Orange County immigration lawyers today at (949) 478-4963 and schedule a virtual consultation!


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