Impact of new “Public Charge” rule – part 1

In October 2018, the Trump administration issued its plan to toughen the public charge rule, which is one guide to reviewing applications for Green Cards. With the federal court decision that approved the new rule, it is to go into effect on February 24.

The rule was revised to prevent immigration be people who would be a drag on the economy.

Opponents described how many American citizens could not pass the new rule.

About half of all U.S.-born citizens would likely be deemed a public charge — and by extension and implication, considered a drag on the United States — if this definition were applied to them.

*In just a single year, 1 in 4 U.S.-born citizens receive a benefit included in the final rule’s public charge definition.

*If one considers benefit receipt of the U.S.-born citizens over the 1997-2017 period, some 41 to 48 percent received one of the benefits included in the final rule’s public charge definition.

*If data covered U.S.-born citizens over the course of their full lifetimes, receipt of benefits included in the new rule would be about half of the population.

*A significant share of individuals working in the United States — 15 percent — receive one of the benefits included in the new rule in just a single year. These are workers upon whom our economy relies.

” having family income below 125 percent of the poverty line — about $31,375 for a family of four, which is more than twice what full-time work at the federal minimum wage pays in the United States — would count against an individual in the public charge determination.

The expired definition of public charge is, by contrast, far narrower. In a single year, just 5 percent of U.S.-born citizens and 1 percent of individuals working in the United States meet the current benefit-related criteria in the public charge determination.

How the new rule expands the definition of public charge:

First, it broadens the list of public benefit programs considered in a public charge determination to include health coverage through Medicaid (with limited exceptions), food assistance through SNAP (food stamps), and housing assistance (Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Rental Assistance, and other subsidized housing programs).

Second, instead of looking at whether more than half of a person’s income comes (or would likely come in the future) from cash assistance tied to need, as they do now, immigration authorities will determine, using several enumerated factors, whether an individual is “more likely than not at any time in the future to receive one or more public benefits” for a certain time period (to be codified in 8 C.F.R. § 212.22(a))—even if the benefits reflect only a small share of an immigrant’s total income.

From a deposition by Danilo Trisi, submitted as part of a suit to block the new rule.

Also go here for another analysis.

Go here for the DHS’ press release on January 30.

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