On October 4, 2019, President Trump issued an immigration related proclamation that will affect nearly all family-based cases being processed abroad once it goes into effect. Titled “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System,” the order directs immigrant visas to be denied to individuals who cannot demonstrate that they will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of the alien’s entry into the United States or unless the individual possesses the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs. What this essentially means, in layman’s terms, is that immigrants who cannot prove that they are covered by health insurance or have financial means to pay for their medical costs will be barred from entering the US.
Over the past year, we have already seen this in some shape or form with some consular cases where the applicants have had extensive medical issues. In India, for example, some consular officers have required elderly visa applicants with health issues to prove that their relatives have secured health insurance quotes for them here in the US. However, this proclamation is taking things to a higher level and formally escalating this practice into a blanket policy that will likely shut out immigrants with lower incomes or health issues that may require treatment here in the US. The policy is scheduled to take effect November 3 of this year and will be applied to consular cases where applicants have to appear for a visa interview before a US consulate abroad. Those who are applying for permanent residence inside the United States through adjustment of status are technically not subject to this proclamation, although there are host of equally troubling issues that will accompany the new public charge policy scheduled to take effect October 15. (For more on the new public charge rules affecting adjustment of status cases, please see our earlier entries.) Under the proclamation, the following types of “approved” health insurance include the following:
· An employer-sponsored plan, including a retiree plan, association health plan, and coverage provided by the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985;
· An unsubsidized health plan offered in the individual market within a State;
· A short-term limited duration health policy good for a minimum of 364 days-or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the US;
· A catastrophic plan;
· A family member’s plan;
· A medical plan under chapter 55 of title 10, USC, including coverage under TRICARE;
· A visitor health insurance plan that provides coverage for medical care at least for 364 days-or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the US;
· A medical plan under Medicare; or
· Any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by HHS.
Additionally, the new policy will not be applied to certain classes of people listed in the proclamation. One of these exempt groups are children of United States Citizens as well as applicants under the age of eighteen (except for applicants accompanying a parent who is also immigrating to the US and subject to the proclamation). However, the following are not exempt: spouses, parents, and siblings of US Citizens, as well as preference relatives of lawful permanent residents.
In light of this new policy, it is imperative, now more than ever, that public charge issues be addressed with your immigration attorney. If there are problematic finances or health complications, these issues need to be addressed with appropriate documentation now.
The above is general information only and not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be relied upon in lieu of consultation with an attorney.