Federal Appellate Court Gives Trump Green Light To Apply Public Charge Rule Again

CNW Legal Analyst, Attorney Caroly Pedersen

In a very disappointing decision last week on August 12, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the Trump administration allowing the USCIS to continue to implement the Public Charge Rule nationwide, except in the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

The decision comes from the Trump administration’s appeal of a Federal Court ruling issued on July 29, 2020, which put a hold on the rule nationwide during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thereafter, the USCIS agreed to accept residency applications without the previously required form I-944 Public Charge form and documentation.

Now that the rule is once again alive and well and all residency applications filed must include form I-944 Public Charge, or be rejected by the USCIS.

For background, nearly a year ago on August 14, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new Public Charge Rule which made it harder for immigrants to obtain green cards.

The rule allows USCIS and Consular officers to deny residency to immigrants who they believe are likely to obtain public assistance in the future, by a set of criteria which factors in the age, health, education, English proficiency and financial resources of each applicant.

The rule was immediately challenged, but the courts finally allowed it to go into effect on February 24, 2020. However, in April 2020, the attorneys general in the states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court due to the spreading coronavirus, which denied the request, but allowed the states to pursue their case in lower courts.

The July 29th decision by Federal court Judge George Daniels halted the rule as long as a national emergency over the virus existed, finding that immigrants were forced to make an “impossible choice between jeopardizing health and personal safety or their immigration status.”

As a result, residency applicants are again advised to include the required form I-944 along with supporting documentation, with all form I-485 applications. 

You can read more by visiting the website at www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link in the upper left-hand corner or by visiting the enewsletter site at: www.americanimmigrationcentral.com

** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center

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