Supreme Court Allows Implementation of Public Charge Rule

The United States Supreme Court permitted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make effective the administration’s public charge rule. The rule had been blocked from taking effect by a federal judge in New York. The Supreme Court allows it to be implemented in most of the country—except Illinois where it is still blocked. The rule states that any individual seeking a green card to become a lawful permanent resident (and individuals within the United States who hold non-immigrant visas and wish to extend their stay in the same non-immigrant classification or change their status to a different non-immigrant classification) is inadmissible if they are likely to become a public charge.

The rule defines a “public charge” based on the receipt of financial support from the general public through government funding, including federal rental assistance. The individual would need to receive one or more designated public benefits, including but not limited to federal rental assistance, for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period to meet the threshold.

The Department of Homeland Security is not imposing any requirements on benefit-granting agencies through this final rule or a requirement that these agencies specifically verify information individuals submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This rule does not change any of the Public Housing, HCV, or PBRA program requirements. The Department of Homeland Security plans to enter into information-sharing agreements with specific agencies (e.g., the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to obtain verification of the information supplied by applicants. Any information sharing will depend on the ability of the relevant agencies to share such information with DHS.

The final rule can be found here.

The Supreme Court’s opinion can be found here.

NAHRO’s one-page guidance on the Public Charge rule can be found here.

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