On August 14, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), published new rules which expand the current definition of public charge. This impacted thousands of immigrants who wish to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States (a green card) or to extend their visas. The new rule came into effect on February 24, 2020.

Under this rule, immigrants to the United States classified as likely or liable to become a public charge may be denied visas or permission to enter the country due to their lack of economic resources or disabilities. The final rule applies to applicants for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status, as well as applicants for admission or adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. Exemptions include refugees, asylees, and certain T and U nonimmigrant visa applicants. If you have any questions in regard to this, please contact Austin immigration lawyer.

Some benefits considered in this rule include things such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), public housing, and even Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). Some benefits not considered include WIC, Child health plus, disaster relief, student and mortgage loans, and more. A number of factors are considered in determining whether an individual is likely to become a public charge such as age, health, income, education, and more. The formula is purposely complex and requires the need of an experienced immigration attorney to ensure appropriate action.

Besides making the green card process harder, the new rule effectively reduces the number of immigrants who can use safety net programs in order to support themselves and/or their families as well. Many have had to stop getting help from these programs in fear that they will be risking their future green card status.

Social media and modern-day news outlets also play a key role in the effects of this rule. Many immigrants rely on news, friends, family, and popular social media sites to get their news about important events like this. Our current media platforms are often unreliable or up to date, therefore making it difficult for immigrants to determine how to move forward with this rule in hopes of obtaining a green card.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with an Austin Immigration Attorney

If you are affected by this or any immigration issue, please contact an experienced Austin immigration lawyer to assist you in your case. As discussed, immigration policies change daily, hence the need for qualified assistance from immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray. Please call Michael G. Murray, P.A., today at (512) 215-4407 or contact the firm online.

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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