Last Thursday, USCIS announced that it will be implementing its Final Rule on Public Charge Inadmissibility on February 24, 2020 (except in the state of Illinois, where the rule remains currently enjoined). Under the new regulations, USCIS officers will have expanded authority to determine whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge by evaluating a number of factors including but not limited to an individual's age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. Additionally, a noncitizen who receives a specified public benefit for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period will practically be presumed to be someone more likely than not to become a public charge in the future.
Last week witnessed the release of the much-dreaded final rule pertaining to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. To say that the new policy is a drastic reworking of the current practice is an understatement. The policy changes not only significantly expand the contours of what is considered a public charge but potentially arm adjudicators with additional tools to deny individuals seeking admission into the US. Since the Department of State has already implemented its own draconian public charge regulations, these new changes primarily affect people who are applying for family-based admission in the US, notably adjustment of status applicants. It also impacts certain non-immigrants requesting a change or extension of stay in the US.