Orlando immigration attorney Gail Seeram was recently featured on an Orlando News13 segment covering the Trump Administration’s changes to the Public Charge rule, which has been temporarily blocked.
This legal injunction means the rule cannot be put into effect for the time being. The rule will likely be appealed and may travel all the way to the Supreme Court.
“The legal process takes time,” explained Orlando immigration attorney Gail Seeram. “This temporary injunction means immigration officers cannot deny green card applicants entry to the U.S. simply because the officer believes the applicant may become a burden on the system at some point in time.”
Confusion Over The Rule
“Public charge” is a screening tool used as a test by immigration officials to determine whether a green card applicant is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence”, specifically cash welfare benefits like Social Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It has been used by U.S. officials as a screening tool since 1999.
The new interpretation of the rule takes a broader look at benefit consumption to include the benefits listed above as well as federally-funded benefits like Medicaid, SNAP, food stamps, and even public housing and long-term care in a government-funded facility.
Several existing benefits are not affected by the rule. These include: Medicaid for pregnant women or those under 21 years of age, Emergency Medicaid, WIC benefits and the use of health care services, hospital services or food pantries.
Most People Are Unaffected by the Rule
Although the changes are alarming, in reality, very few immigration applicants are affected by the Public Charge rule. It also only applies to new green card applicants; current green card holders are not affected by the rule, unless they leave the country for more than 6 months. It does not apply to refugees, those seeking asylum, U Visa holders, domestic violence survivors with Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) status or juveniles with protected immigrant status.
Services Are Still Available To Those Who Need Them
The confusion and fear surrounding the new interpretation of the Public Charge rule means that immigrants who are already in the U.S. are shying away from public benefits that could help them and for which they are eligible.
“The biggest concern in the immigration law community right now is that people who could use these benefits won’t apply and won’t get the help they need. These are people who are already in the U.S. and aren’t affected by the Public Charge rule, but they’re still afraid of what they are hearing and what may happen and the end result is they and their families suffer needlessly. What we want people to understand is that the new rule has been blocked. It is not being applied and we don’t know if or when it ever will be used so anyone who needs these public services should still continue to access them,” Seeram explained.
Contact Our Immigration Attorney With Questions
Anyone with questions about how the new rule may affect them or their ability to access needed services should contact The Immigration Law Offices of Gail Seeram for advice. We offer free consultations in-person, online or over the phone.