Public Charge Proposed Rule Published

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM, or proposed rule) around Public Charge. “Public charge” refers to the factors that immigration officials consider when determining if a legal immigrant should be approved for a Green Card; use of certain public benefits is one of these factors. In general, the NPRM proposes to establish in regulation the Public Charge standards that were in place from 1999 through 2018. Under these standards, the only public benefits that may be considered in a public charge determination are cash assistance and institutional long-term care. In 2018, the Trump Administration expanded the list of public benefits to include use of Medicaid, SNAP, and certain housing supports. The Biden Administration withdrew the Trump regulation in 2021, and now is seeking to enshrine the previous standards in regulations as, to date, these standards exist only in sub-regulatory guidance, and therefore can be easily withdrawn without public input.