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New Public Charge Proposal

As recently reported in The Hill, President Trump has taken quick initiative to severely hamper vulnerable families including children from obtaining a green card. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.

Under President Trump’s new proposal titled Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, adjudicators can take into consideration an applicant’s use of public benefits programs like Medicaid, food stamps and Section 8 housing, to determine if the applicant qualifies for a green card and/or a visa. Prior to this proposal applicants were only at risk of being deemed a “public charge” if they received cash welfare or aid for long-term health care. Under this proposal applicants would be subjected to more severe sructiny due to the broadening the definition of “public charge” to include reliance on virtually any public assistance, including the Medicare prescription drug benefit program. Needless to say, these radical changes will impact those most vulernable in our communities and will only serve to advance President Trump discriminatory agenda.

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