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Federal Judge Blocks Public Charge Rule

U.S. District Court judges have blocked the public charge rule that was planned to go into effect on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. Had it gone into effect, this rule would have drastically expanded the definition of a public charge, thus increasing the number of people who would be denied immigrant visas.  As a result of the nationwide block (injunction), the effective date of the final rule is postponed until there is a final resolution in the cases. This injunction applies to all Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offices in the United States.

However, at present, persons applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consular posts abroad remain subject to the new public charge rule.

Please note that the Trump Administration has not as yet appealed this interim order, but we believe it is likely that an appeal will be filed.

Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP will continue to monitor changes for public charge determinations and provide updates when necessary. Please contact a PPID immigration attorney with any questions at 1-212-233-8100.


Key Points of Expanded Public Charge Rule

  • The rule broadens the programs that will be considered by immigration officers in making a public charge determination.
  • Public charge will be redefined as an “alien who receives one or more public benefits 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).”
  • Introduce new forms requiring extensive information, including evidence that an applicant is covered by health insurance.
  • The rule only applies to individuals seeking admission into the U.S. or applying for adjustment of status.
  • The rule DOES NOT apply to the naturalization process (i.e. when lawful permanent residents apply to become U.S. citizens). Also, the rule does not apply to asylees, refugees, U visa holders, Special Immigrant Juveniles, T visa holders and VAWA self-petitioners.

Please note that there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, pregnant women and children under 21 years old will not be penalized for using Medicaid.


Proof of Health Insurance NOT Required Because Trump’s Rule Has Been Blocked

With open enrollment quickly approaching, many individuals are asking if they should purchase health insurance in anticipation of the rule going into effect.

Q: As a part of the new public charge determination, do I need proof of health insurance?

A: No, not currently. If you are applying for adjustment of status while in the United States, the new public charge rule has been blocked by U.S. District Court judges. Until the injunction is lifted, the rule is not in effect. However, the Department of State has indicated that they will implement the rule at some point in the future when they develop a new form for it.


For more information on the temporarily blocked public charge rule or to speak with an immigration lawyer, please call 212-203-4795.


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