From 24th February, lawful immigrants who are on public benefits would no longer be granted Green Cards by the US Govt. The new regulation could affect many Indian H1B Visa holders who are waiting in line for their Green Cards.
The US Supreme Court lifted the very last injunction on the “Public Charge” regulation on Friday. With the removal of the injunction, the Dept. of Homeland Security have implemented the rule from Monday, 24th February.
The new Public Charge rule defines how the US Govt would classify if an immigrant is admissible. The new rule would also determine if the immigrant could adjust to PR status or whether they would rely on public benefits in the future. Public benefits like food stamps, cash assistance to sustain income or long-term care at a Government institution could deem you unfit for a Green Card.
Stephanie Grisham, White House Press Secretary, said that the new Public Charge rule would safeguard American taxpayers. It would ensure that the welfare programs are utilized by Americans truly in need of the same. The new rule would also help reduce the federal deficit.
The Public Charge rule would also re-establish the principle that immigrants coming to the US should be able to take care of themselves. They should not have to depend on public benefits paid for by the American taxpayer.
Immigrants from South Asia, including India, could be affected by the new rule. Under the new rule, people who seek a Visa extension or a change in their Visa status have to prove that they did not avail any public benefits more than the limit allowed on their existing non-immigrant Visas.
As per the Migration Policy Institute Report of 2018, 11% of Indian immigrants in the US rely on public benefits. All these Indian families would now be under the scanner and whether they would be deemed eligible for the Green Card is doubtful.
The Public Charge rule was published first on 14th August 2019. It was supposed to have become effective from 15th October 2019 but was delayed due to several court rulings. With the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the US Govt., the Public Charge rule is now effective.
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