Which Public Benefits can constitute Public Charge for green card applicants

Trump’s Public Charge rule is already being contested in courts by 13 states. But here’s what you may need to know if you are applying for employment-based green cards.

Ever since the Trump administration introduced a new rule that would expand the federal government’s ability to deny entry visas or green cards to legal immigrants who may be potentially using public services such as Medicaid and food stamps, there has been a furor over the policy.

The rule, which was announced last Monday, is slated to go into effect beginning October 15. It has already led to 13 states suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Led by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, the lawsuit is also supported by attorneys general from Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island.

RELATED: New Public Charge rule likely to cause further delays in green cards for Indians (August 15, 2019)

Many activists argue that the new rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act of the country.

Indian citizens who are on employment-based visas, even though not directly affected by the rule, are still concerned about what medical benefits, if any, they use can lead to the rejection of the green card.

Although those who come to the country by virtue of their jobs, which would support their stay, do not end up using public benefits, still many would like to know what public services can lead to be counted as amounting to public charge.

Firstly, it must be noted that the liability to prove that that the applicant would not be becoming a public charge applies to non-immigrant visa applicants such as B-1, F1, H-1B, H-4, L-1 and L-2, as well. It also applies to non-immigrants applying for adjustment of status on visas such as EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3, among others.

The public benefits that can affect employment-based immigrants if used for more than 12 months in any 36-month period include federally funded Medicaid, even though it comes with certain exclusions, any cash assistance (federal, local or state), public housing under Section 9 of the Housing Act, 1937, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

It must also be noted that the receipt of Medicaid in an emergency medical condition would not be taken into consideration. Similarly Medicaid benefits received by any alien less than 21 years of age or a pregnant woman would also not come under consideration.

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