Public Charge Rule Becomes Effective

The public charge final rule announced by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) several months ago will become effective December 23.

The rule reinstates a traditional interpretation of the public charge requirement (which prevents admission to the US for someone who might become dependent on government assistance – in other words, would become a “public charge) that had been made more onerous under the prior administration.

The last administration had attempted to make the requirements more difficult to meet by ordering consideration of supplemental public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance, among other things, in public charge determinations.  While the courts had struck down many of the prior administration’s attempts in this regard, The current administration now seeks to clarify and codify the analysis now in effect: essentially a “totality of the circumstances” test where may factors traditionally used in adjudication of this requirement – but not the factors added by the prior administration’s changes – are considered.