Public Charge Rule Expanded to Deny Green Card Faces Legal Challenges in U.S. Courts

On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, DHS published a final rule redefining the public charge ground for denying green card issuance. Lawsuits have already been filed in multiple jurisdictions, raising questions whether the rule will go into effect October 15, 2019.

The new public charge rule removes the consideration of whether an individual is primarily dependent on public benefits, redefining public charge as a noncitizen who receives a specified public benefit for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).

The final rule at 8 CFR 212.21(b) defines a public benefit as:

  1. Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance, including:
    1. Social Security Income (SSI), 42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.;
    1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.;
    1. Federal, state, or local cash benefits programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the State context, but which also exist under other names);
  2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 7 U.S.C. 2011 to 2036c;
  3. Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program as administered by HUD under 42 U.S.C. 1437f;
  4. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation) under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f);
  5. Medicaid, with certain exceptions, such as benefits received by individuals under the age of 21 and pregnant women (or for a period of 60 days after the last day of pregnancy); and
  6. Public housing under section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937

A sufficient affidavit of support will NOT be outcome-determinative as to whether an individual is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge. Rather, to make that assessment, USCIS adjudicators will apply a complex totality of circumstances test that weighs the alien’s age; health; family status; education and skills; and assets, resources, and financial status, taking into account a broad range of positive and negative factors.

USCIS notes in the final rule that it interprets “likely at any time” to mean that it is “more likely than not” that the individual at any time in the future will receive one or more public benefits as defined by the rule.  One heavily weighted negative factor is an applicant’s receipt of specified public benefits for 12 or more months in the aggregate within any 36-month period, beginning no earlier than the 36 months prior to the application for adjustment of status or adjustment.

The public charge rule, which is vastly more restrictive than current policy, could result in significantly higher USCIS denial rates of adjustment of status applications subject to public charge determinations. Moreover, the multi-factor test will leave substantial discretion to adjudicators and could produce inconsistent and unpredictable decision-making. Additionally, the rule will prove burdensome for the public and DHS alike. It requires that adjustment applicants subject to public charge determinations prepare and submit lengthy Forms I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, with their adjustment filings. USCIS’s review of hundreds of thousands of these new forms each year will further slow the agency’s already severely delayed case processing.

For more information on public charge, 

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New redesigned Permanent Resident Card (“Green Cards”) and Employment Authorization Document

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began issuing redesigned versions of the Permanent Resident Card (aka a “Green Cards”) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project.

The redesigned cards use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

USCIS states that the new card designs are part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and f raud and demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud.

The new Permanent Resident (Green Cards) and EAD Cards will:

  1. Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  2. Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
  3. Have embedded holographic images; and
  4. No longer display the individual’s signature.
  5. EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  6. Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
  7. Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

Both the existing and the new Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) and EADs will (more…)

Signature REQUIRED for Green Card & Work Permit Upon Delivery

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will begin phasing in use of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service to mail Green Cards and other secure documents beginning April 30, 2018.

The first phase will affect documents that need to be re-mailed because they have been returned as non-deliverable. These documents include Permanent Resident Card (also called Green Card), Employment Authorization Cards, and Travel Booklets. Applicants who have changed mailing addresses during the course of the application process are more likely to have their secure documents sent with the new delivery method, which USCIS will expand to all secure documents in the future.

As part of the new delivery method, applicants must present identification to sign for their documents upon delivery. They also have the option to designate an agent to sign on their behalf by completing the Postal Service’s PS Form 3801, Standing Delivery Order (PDF) or PS Form 3801-A, Agreement by a Hotel, Apartment House, or the Like (PDF). Applicants can sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to receive delivery status notifications. Applicants will also have the option to arrange for pickup at a post office at a convenient date and time by going to the USPS website and selecting “hold for pickup.”

Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery increases the security, integrity, and efficiency of document delivery. (more…)

Green Card New Design – Effective May 1, 2017

The Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has been redesigned as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. The new cards will be issued on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns green card use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new green card designs demonstrate immigration’s commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back. (more…)

Green Card i-551

A green card i-551 can be issued for two (2) years or ten (10) years.  If your green card card is lost or needs replacement or renewal, call the Immigration Law Offices of Gail Seeram for assistance.  We will file your application for a replacement green card i-551 and make an appointment for you to get a temporary green card i-551 stamp in your passport.  Processing times for replacement a green card can vary (more…)

Green Card Expires in 2 years – Help Removing Conditional Residency

In cases where resident status (green card) is acquired based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen that was less than 2 years old on the day the immigrant spouse was approved, then the immigrant is approved for lawful conditional status (or a 2 year green card).  The immigrant’s status is conditional because two years after acquiring permanent resident status, the immigrant and his/her U.S. citizen spouse will be required to present evidence (and possibility have an interview in front of an officer) to prove their marriage is good faith based on love and not for the purpose of gaining an immigration benefit. The process of removing conditions from a 2-year green card give the Department of Homeland Security a second opportunity to exam the marital relationship to confirm the immigrant and his/her spouse continue to live together, hold joint assets and share joint bills. (more…)

Understanding I-551 (i551) Green Card

When permanent resident status is obtained in the United States, a Form I-551 (i551) or green card is issued to evidence that legal status in the United States. The holder of a green card or Form I-551 (i551) can live, work and travel in the United States. Note, there are two types of green cards or Form I-551 (i551) status: permanent and conditional. When the green card or Form I-551 (i551) is issued based on marriage for less than two years or certain investments, then a conditional green card or Form I-551 (i551) is issued and at the end of the two years an application is required to be submitted seeking removal of the conditions and granting of a permanent (10 years) green card or Form I-551 (i551). (more…)

Immigration Lawyer Explains Affidavit of Support

Immigration Lawyer Explains Affidavit of Support

An affidavit of support is a document that must be completed by all petitioners for family-based and some employment based sponsorship. In the affidavit of support, the petitioner or sponsor sign to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. Since the requirements are so stringent and an incorrect affidavit of support can lead to a denial of an immigrant visa petitions, it is recommended to seek legal assistance from an immigration lawyer. (more…)

Medical Exam (Form I-693) & Immigration Laws

Effective June 1, 2014, certain Forms I-693 or medical exams required under the immigration laws that are submitted to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in connection with adjustment of status applications more than one year prior will no longer be valid.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Widow of American Citizen can Self-Petition for Green Card

In 2010, a change in the law allows the widow of American citizen married any length of time to self-petition for immediate relative status as a lawful permanent resident, but must still file within two years of the death of the U.S. citizen spouse. Additionally, if the U.S. citizen spouse filed an I-130 prior to the death, the I-130 is automatically converted to an I-360 upon the death of the petitioner. The requirement that the widow(er) not have remarried was not changed.

Requirements to Qualify as a “Widow(er):

The following requirements must be meet for a widow(er)s to self-petition for lawful permanent resident status (or green card) after the death of their U.S. citizen spouse:

  1. He or she was the citizen’s legal spouse;
  2. The marriage was bona fide and not an arrangement solely to confer immigration benefits to the beneficiary;
  3. He or she has not remarried;
  4. He or she is admissible as an immigrant; and
  5. In an adjustment of status case, that he or she meets all other adjustment eligibility requirements and merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

Children of Widow(er)s:

The child of a widow(er) whose self-petition is approved may be included in the widow(er)’s petition as long as they meet the definition for “child” under the immigration laws.  Where the deceased citizen filed an alien relative petition for his or her spouse that was pending at the time of his or her death, and the alien relative petition can now be adjudicated as a widow(er)’s self-petition, the child(ren) of the widow(er) will be included in the widow(er)’s self petition.  An individual qualifies as the “child” of a widow(er) depending on their age when the alien relative petition was filed.

Q. Are my children, who are not the children of my deceased U.S. citizen spouse, covered under this new law?

A. Yes. Regardless of whether your children are also the children of your deceased U.S. citizen spouse, the program covers your children in the United States, as long as they meet the definition of your “child” under the immigration laws.

Q. What if I was legally separated or divorced from my U.S. citizen spouse at the time of his or her death?

A. If you were divorced or legally separated from your U.S. citizen spouse at the time of his or her death, you are ineligible for this program.

Q. What if I am a widow(er) who was removed or departed from the United States while an order of removal was pending?

A. If the widow(er) is outside of the United States and had been ordered removed, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has discretion under the immigration laws to consent to the widow(er)’s reapplication for admission. USCIS will generally exercise discretion favorably and grant an application for consent to reapply for admission once all the requirements are met.

Q. What if I am in removal proceedings?

A. Your attorney or accredited representative is in the best position to advise you about your specific case.

 

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.