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USCIS Announces Final Rule Enforcing Long-Standing Public Charge Inadmissibility Law

August 12, 2019

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule that clearly defines long-standing law to better ensure that aliens seeking to enter and remain in the United States — either temporarily or permanently — are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations rather than on public resources.

This final rule amends DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS will determine whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The final rule addresses U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authority to permit an alien to submit a public charge bond in the context of adjustment of status applications. The rule also makes nonimmigrant aliens who have received certain public benefits above a specific threshold generally ineligible for extension of stay and change of status.

“For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws. President Trump has delivered on his promise to the American people to enforce long-standing immigration law by defining the public charge inadmissibility ground that has been on the books for years,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since. Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success.”

DHS has revised the definition of “public charge” to incorporate consideration of more kinds of public benefits received, which the Department believes will better ensure that applicants subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient. The rule defines the term “public charge” to mean an individual who receives one or more designated 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). The rule further defines the term “public benefit” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs.

The regulation also excludes from the public benefits definition: public benefits received by individuals who are serving in active duty or in the Ready Reserve component of the U.S. armed forces, and their spouses and children; public benefits received by certain international adoptees and children acquiring U.S. citizenship; Medicaid for aliens under 21 and pregnant women; Medicaid for school-based services (including services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); and Medicaid benefits for emergency medical services.

This rule also makes certain nonimmigrant aliens in the United States who have received designated public benefits above the designated threshold ineligible for change of status and extension of stay if they received the benefits after obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or from which they seek to change.

Importantly, this regulation does not apply to humanitarian-based immigration programs for refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs), certain trafficking victims (T nonimmigrants), victims of qualifying criminal activity (U nonimmigrants), or victims of domestic violence (VAWA self-petitioners), among others.

This rule also explains how USCIS will exercise its discretionary authority, in limited circumstances, to offer an alien inadmissible only on the public charge ground the opportunity to post a public charge bond. The final rule sets the minimum bond amount at $8,100; the actual bond amount will be dependent on the individual’s circumstances.

This final rule supersedes the 1999 Interim Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds and goes into effect at midnight Eastern, Oct. 15, 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. USCIS will apply the public charge inadmissibility final rule only to applications and petitions postmarked (or, if applicable, submitted electronically) on or after the effective date. Applications and petitions already pending with USCIS on the effective date of the rule (postmarked and accepted by USCIS) will be adjudicated based on the 1999 Interim Guidance.

USCIS will provide information and additional details to the public as part of public outreach related to the implementation of this rule. In the coming weeks, USCIS will conduct engagement sessions for the public and other interested groups to ensure the public understands which benefits are included in the public charge inadmissibility rule and which are not.

Worried about the final public charge rule? File your applications NOW! The rule DOES NOT apply to applications filed before 10/15/19, regardless of when they are adjudicated. Call us at 800-223-2814 .

 

USCIS Anuncia Regla Final que Hace Cumplir la Ley Existente de Inadmisibilidad por Carga Pública

12 agosto 2019

El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos (USCIS, por sus siglas en inglés) anunciaron hoy una regla final que define claramente la ley vigente desde hace tiempo sobre inadmisibilidad por carga pública.

DHS ha revisado la definición de carga pública para garantizar que los extranjeros sujetos a la causal de inadmisibilidad por carga pública indicada en la sección 212 (a)(4) de la Ley de Inmigración y Nacionalidad (INA, por sus siglas en inglés), sean autosuficientes. Por ley, al determinar si un extranjero es inadmisible bajo esta causal, el gobierno debe, como mínimo, considerar la edad del extranjero, salud, estatus familiar, bienes, recursos y situación financiera, educación y habilidades, y puede tomar en consideración cualquier declaración jurada de patrocinio económico requerida.

La regla final define el término carga pública como un extranjero que recibe uno o más beneficios públicos designados por más de 12 meses, en total, dentro de cualquier período de 36 meses. La regla define además el término beneficio público para incluir beneficios en efectivo con fines del mantenimiento de ingresos o sustento, Seguridad de Ingreso Suplementario (SSI, por sus siglas en inglés), Asistencia Temporal para Familias Necesitadas (TANF, por sus siglas en inglés), Programa de Asistencia Nutricional Suplementaria (SNAP, por sus siglas en inglés), la mayoría de los tipos de Medicaid, Asistencia de Vivienda (Sección 8) bajo el Programa de Vales de Elección de Vivienda, Asistencia de Alquiler Basada en Proyectos de Sección 8, y vivienda pública subsidiada.

La lista de beneficios públicos en la regla final es una lista exhaustiva con respecto a los beneficios que no son en efectivo. Sin embargo, los beneficios en efectivo para mantenimiento de ingresos pueden incluir una variedad de beneficios en efectivo basados en recursos económicos verificados para propósitos generales proporcionados por agencias federales, estatales, locales o tribales que otorgan beneficios, y solo serán considerados los beneficios públicos listados específicamente en la regla. Los beneficios públicos que no están listados en la regla no son considerados en la determinación de inadmisibilidad por carga pública. La regla no incluye, por ejemplo, la consideración de asistencia médica de emergencia, ayuda por desastres, programas nacionales de alimentos escolares, acogida temporal y adopción, Head Start, o préstamos estudiantiles o hipotecas.

Esta regla también aclara que DHS no considera el recibo de beneficios públicos designados recibidos por un extranjero que, al momento de recibir el beneficio o al momento de presentar la solicitud para admisión, ajuste de estatus, extensión de estadía, o cambio de estatus está alistado en las Fuerzas Armadas de Estados Unidos o en servicio activo o en cualquiera de los componentes de la Reserva Lista de las Fuerzas Armadas de Estados Unidos, y no considerará el recibo de beneficios públicos por el cónyuge e hijos de dicho militar. La regla también establece que DHS no considerará beneficios públicos recibidos por niños, incluidos niños adoptados, que adquieran la ciudadanía bajo INA 320, 8 U.S.C. 1431.

De manera similar, DHS no considerará los beneficios de Medicaid recibidos: (1) para el tratamiento de una “condición médica de emergencia”, (2) como servicios o beneficios proporcionados en relación con la Ley de Educación para Personas con Discapacidades, (3) servicios o beneficios relacionados con las escuelas proporcionados a personas que tienen o están por debajo de la edad máxima de elegibilidad para educación secundaria según determinada por la ley estatal o local, (4) por extranjeros menores de 21 años, y (5) por mujeres embarazadas y mujeres que están dentro del periodo de 60 días a partir del último día de embarazo.

La regla final también establece la totalidad de las circunstancias estándar para determinar si es probable que un extranjero se convierta en una carga pública en algún momento en el futuro, lo que incluye, como mínimo, las siguientes consideraciones sobre el extranjero: su edad, salud, estatus familiar, activos, recursos y situación financiera, educación y capacitación, estatus migratorio prospectivo, período esperado de admisión, y declaración jurada de patrocinio económico conforme a la sección 213A de INA. Ningún factor por sí solo, incluido el recibo de beneficios públicos, es determinante del resultado: la determinación de la probabilidad de que un extranjero se convierta en una carga pública en algún momento futuro debe estar basado en la totalidad de las circunstancias del extranjero y con la consideración de todos los factores que son relevantes en el caso del extranjero.

Esta regla también explica cómo USCIS ejercerá su autoridad discrecional, en circunstancias limitadas, para ofrecer a un extranjero inadmisible solo en relación a la causal de carga pública la oportunidad de pagar una fianza por carga pública. La regla final establece el monto mínimo de la fianza en $8,100 (ajustada para la inflación). El monto real de la fianza dependerá de las circunstancias de la persona.

Esta regla también hace que los no inmigrantes en Estados Unidos que han recibido beneficios públicos designados por encima del límite máximo desde la obtención del estatus de no inmigrante o el que desde el que busca cambiar, generalmente no sean elegibles para obtener una extensión de estadía o cambiar su estatus.

Es importante destacar que esta regulación no aplica a los programas de inmigración basados en razones humanitaria, como los programas de refugiados, solicitantes de asilo, jóvenes inmigrantes especiales (SIJ), algunas víctimas de la trata de personas, víctimas de una actividad delictiva cualificada, o víctimas de violencia doméstica.

La regla aplica a solicitudes y peticiones mataselladas (o, si aplica, presentadas electrónicamente) en o después de la fecha de efectividad de la regla final. Las solicitudes y peticiones que están pendientes con USCIS el día en que entra en efecto la regla final, serán adjudicadas bajo la Guía Provisional de Campo de 1999. Además, la regla final contiene disposiciones especiales para la consideración de beneficios públicos recibidos antes de la fecha de efectividad de la regla final: cualquier beneficio excluido de consideración bajo las Guías Provisionales de Campo de 1999 (por ejemplo, SNAP, cupones de vivienda bajo Sección 8) que sea recibido antes de la fecha de efectividad de la regla final no será considerado; cualquier beneficio público que haya sido considerado bajo las Guías Provisionales de Campo de 1999 y sea recibido antes de la fecha de efectividad de la regla final será considerado en la totalidad de las circunstancias del extranjero, pero no tendrá mucho peso.

En las próximas semanas, USCIS llevará a cabo sesiones de enlace para asegurar que el público entienda cuáles beneficios están incluidos en la regla y cuáles no.

¿PREOCUPADO POR LA NUEVA REGLA DE CARGO PÚBLICO? Presente sus Aplicaciones AHORA! La regla NO se aplica a las solicitudes sometidas antes de Octubre 15, 2019, independientemente de cuándo sean adjudicadas. Llámenos al 800-223-2814 .

 


Fast-Track Deportation Requires No Judge

July 22, 2019

The Trump administration is expanding the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants that are in the U.S. for less than two years without requiring them to appear before a judge before deportation.

Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP will continue to provide updates on deportation news and related developments.

Need to speak with an deportation defense lawyer? Call 800-223-2814 .


Urgent ICE Raid Notice

July 12, 2019

Reports indicate that border agents will begin raids in select cities this weekend to remove undocumented immigrants and could impact 2,000 or more families in 10 major cities. These cities include: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.

Visit our raids resource page for the latest news: https://www.ppid.com/raids/

To speak with an immigration or deportation lawyer, please call 800-223-2814 .


Family 2A Category Will Be Current on July 1, 2019

June 28, 2019

On May 17, 2019, the U.S. State Department announced that the Family 2A category will be current for the month of July 2019. Therefore, spouses and unmarried minor children of lawful permanent residents currently in the U.S. who maintain lawful nonimmigrant status can begin to complete their immigrant visa applications with USCIS starting on July 1, 2019.

It’s been nearly 3 years of waiting for the Family 2A category to be available, and it may NOT be available past the month of July 2019.

If you’re a green card holder that has petitioned or wants to petition for your spouse and/or children, please call our office ASAP: 800-223-2814


Victory for Young Immigrants in NY: Judge Upholds Age Requirement for Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) Status

March 15, 2019

The law states that individuals under 21 years old may be eligible to receive Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) status, but many young immigrants were still denied at the age of 18-20. While the law did NOT change, the Trump Administration changed the way it was interpreting the law.

In a major class action lawsuit in New York, the plaintiffs alleged that DHS, USCIS, and individual officers of those agencies adopted a new policy without notice, and that prior to this policy change, the plaintiffs’ SIJ applications would have been granted.

The Court agreed with the plaintiffs and found the new policy was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and summary judgement was granted.

As a result, SIJ applicants that are 18-20 years old will no longer be denied due to age.

If you were recently denied SIJ status or interested in applying, please contact us online or call 800-223-2814 .


DHS Preserves, Extends Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Four Countries

March 1, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Federal Register notice titled, “Continuation of Documentation for Beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status Designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador.” These countries were previously scheduled by DHS to lose TPS designation.

The validity of TPS-related documentation for nationals of the four countries will be automatically extended through January 2, 2020, which includes employment authorization documents.

TPS for the four countries will remain in place until further notice and the DHS will not terminate the TPS designations of the four countries until there is a final, non-appealable judicial order that would permit DHS to do so.

Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP will continue to provide updates on TPS designations and related developments.


USCIS Announces Updates to Civics Test Answers

January 4, 2019

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced updates to four answers on the U.S. history and government (civics) test for those seeking naturalization as U.S. citizens. The updated answers to the following questions are effective immediately.

Question  20 – Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?

  • Answer – Give the name of one of your state’s current U.S. senators. For a list of current members, please visit senate.govAnswers will vary. [District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories should answer that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. senators.]

Question 23 – Name your U.S. Representative.

  • Answer – Give the name of your current U.S. representative. For a list of current members, please visit house.govAnswers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting delegates or resident commissioners may provide the name of that delegate or commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) representatives in Congress.]

Question 43 – Who is the Governor of your state now?

  • Give the name of your state’s current governor. For a list of current governors, please visit usa.gov/states-and-territories. Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. does not have a governor]

Question 47 – What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

  • The House of Representatives generally elects the speaker of the House on the first day of every new Congress. The answer may change after the election. Give the name of the current speaker of the House. Visit uscis.gov/citizenship/testupdates for the name of the speaker of the House of Representatives.

If you have questions on the updated answers or would like to meet with a lawyer, please contact us online or call 800-223-2814 .

Source: READ MORE >>


Public Charge Proposed Regulations Summary

October 10, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security has issued proposed regulations that would redefine the meaning of the legal term “public charge” to reject immigrants applying for an immigrant visa (green card), or a temporary visa if they have previously accessed or are deemed likely to rely on certain forms of public assistance in the future. This proposed rule would make it more difficult for legal immigrants coming to the U.S. and likely will continue to have a chilling effect on immigrant families, who are eligible for assistance, and are contributing to America every day at work and in their communities. The proposed rule was published on October 10, 2018, with public comments accepted until December 10, 2018.

If you have questions about the proposed “public charge” rule and want to speak with a skilled New York immigration attorney,  please contact us online or call 800-223-2814 .

Source: READ MORE >>


USCIS Using Tablets to Administer the English Reading and Writing Tests for Naturalization

October 3, 2018

On October 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing business modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands tablet usage, allowing the device to be used for a greater portion of the application process. USCIS will be able to continue using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

While the eligibility requirements and the subject material of the naturalization test have not changed, applicants are now using a stylus on a digital tablet instead of a paper application. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will carefully instruct applicants on how to use the tablets before administering the tests:

  • For the reading test, a sentence will appear on the tablet and the ISO will ask the applicant to read it.
  • For the writing test, several lines will appear on the tablet, replicating the appearance of a piece of blank paper. The ISO will read a sentence aloud and ask the applicant to write it on the tablet.

Applicants will continue to take the civics test verbally, without the tablet.

If you have questions about the new digital tablets during naturalization interviews, please contact us online or call 800-223-2814 to speak to an immigration lawyer today.


U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban

June 26, 2018

In a 5-to-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries. This is the Supreme Court’s first major ruling on the Trump administration policy.

The travel ban has been in place since December 2017 and today’s ruling lifts the legal cloud surrounding the travel ban policy.

The ban prevents travel to the U.S. from the following 5 Muslim countries and 2 non-Muslim countries:

  1. Iran
  2. Libya
  3. Somalia
  4. Syria
  5. Yemen
  6. North Korea
  7. Venezuela (government officials and their families)

A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list in April after improving “its identity-management and information sharing practices,” Trump said.

The travel ban has created a lot of concern and uncertainty in the immigrant community here in New York City and across the nation. If you are planning to travel internationally or you are preparing for a visit from people who live in a country listed above, you should consider reaching out to a lawyer first.

If you have questions about the ban and what it means for you and your family, contact us online or call 800-223-2814 to schedule an appointment with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer.

Source: READ MORE >>


Recent Supreme Court Decision Affects Non-citizens’ from Deportation/Removal

June 21, 2018

The Supreme Court recently issued a decision that will benefit many thousands of persons who are in removal/deportation proceedings, who have been ordered to leave the U.S., or who have already been deported. Persons who are subject to a prior removal order or who have been found deportable from the U.S. may be eligible for various forms of relief from deportation pursuant to this decision, including Cancellation of Removal (“10 year law”), Adjustment of Status and Voluntary Departure. Because of this decision, even those with long-standing orders of deportation may be able to reopen their cases to apply for relief.

If you believe this applies to your case, or you have relatives who might be eligible, you should contact our firm for further information.

Source: READ MORE >>


Jeff Sessions Ruled Immigration Judges to End Administrative Closures

May 21, 2018

On May 17, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals do not have the general authority to indefinitely suspend cases through administrative closures. The decision applies nationwide – though we can expect it will be challenged in the federal courts.

Immigration judges use administrative closures to indefinitely pause lower-level deportation cases and help manage their caseload. With Session’s decision, judges will be forced to keep long-pending cases on their active dockets that will contribute to the already massive backlog of immigration cases. Although Sessions ended administrative closure for future cases, regulations will permit the practice in a limited number of cases.  As for the current 350,000 administratively closed cases, we can expect these cases to gradually make their way back onto court dockets in the next few weeks and months through motions by the government.   READ MORE >>


Filing Initial DACA Applications May Be Allowed

April 24, 2018

AILA updated its practice alert on filing DACA applications in light of an April 24, 2018, district court ruling that held that DHS’s decision to rescind DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and vacated the termination of the program. This decision differs from previous court rulings because it would affect new applications, but it is on hold for 90 days. As a result, there are no new changes to the program as of now.

Please contact our New York DACA attorneys if you have any questions regarding the latest DACA development at 800-223-2814 .


A Rule is Changed for Young Immigrants, and Green Card Hopes Fade

April 18, 2018

As a child, Y. says she was beaten by her father with ropes and cables in Honduras.

J. says he was forced into labor in Burkina Faso.

R., who was born in the Dominican Republic, says she was neglected by her mother and abandoned by her father.

All three applied for something known in immigration law as Special Immigrant Juvenile status, which lets children under the age of 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents obtain a green card. But in the last several weeks, all three, living in New York, were denied because of an unannounced policy reversal by the Trump administration.

Under the new interpretation, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said that applicants in New York who were over 18, but not yet 21, when they began the application process no longer qualify. READ MORE >>

For legal assistance, contact our New York Special Immigrant Juvenile Status lawyers at 800-223-2814 .


USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Cap

April 6, 2018

USCIS has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 800-223-2814 .


Supreme Court Ruling Means Immigrants Could Continue To Be Detained Indefinitely

February 27, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.

It’s a profound loss for those immigrants appealing what are sometimes indefinite detentions by the government. Many are held for long periods of time — on average, 13 months — after being picked up for things as minor as joyriding. Some are held even longer. READ MORE >>

If a loved one is detained, contact our elite New York deportation lawyers at 800-223-2814 .

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