The eye-catcher ….
The Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule last August that appears designed to push President Trump’s preference for merit-based immigration, versus family-based allowances that have fed the political right’s assertions that the United States should focus on allowing only highly skilled or well capitalized individuals into the country.
In addition to the preferred economic benefits stemming from admission of the highly skilled or highly capitalized immigrant, there are the political benefits from appeasing Mr. Trump’s base who hold the belief that the U.S. should limit competition for American jobs or head off any threats to American culture, the American way of life.
Four major points of the new rules, set to go into effect October 15th, comprise its rationale. They are:
- To ensure aliens entering the U.S. are self-sustainable.
- To ensure aliens can rely on employment, family, or private organizations for their support versus benefits received from government agencies.
- To provide financial consideration in the form of a bond to be tendered to the U.S. government where an immigrant has exceeded the maximum amount of benefits allowed in a twelve-month period.
- To make non-immigrant applicants for change in status ineligible for extended stay where an immigrant violate a public benefits threshold.
In short, an immigration officer may declare you as not eligible for admission if you are likely to be a public charge.
What are the public benefits immigrants risk losing?
A public charge is an individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in aggregate, within any 36-month period. A public benefit includes the following:
- Cash benefits for income maintenance.
- Supplemental security income.
- Temporary assistance for needy families.
- Supplemental nutritional aid.
- Most forms of medicaid.
- Certain housing programs.
Excluded from public benefits are:
- Benefits received by individuals serving on active duty or the ready reserves.
- Benefits received by certain international adoptees or children acquiring U.S. citizenship.
- Medicaid for aliens under the age of 21 or pregnant women.
- Medicaid for school-based services.
- Medicaid benefits for emergency services.
The rule would not apply to humanitarian-based programs for refugees, asylees, immigrant juveniles, certain trafficking victims, victims of qualifying criminal activity, or victims of domestic violence.
Where an immigrant is deemed inadmissable based on public charge grounds, the immigrant could be offered the opportunity to post a bond at a minimum of $8,100.
How does the immigrant get around the “public charge” barrier?
Are you likely to become a “public charge” when you present yourself at an American port of entry? You want the answer to be “not likely.” An immigration officer determining whether you are eligible to enter the United States will consider, at a minimum, the following:
- Your age.
- Your health.
- Your family status.
- Your assets.
- Your resources.
- Your financial status.
- Your education and skills.
In addition, your affidavit of support, a statement indicating the level of support you expect from a family member or other sponsor, should provide that your sponsor can maintain your support at 125% of the poverty level.
The takeway: Be prepared …
The current administration is attempting to make good on its promise to tighten restrictions on immigration. By rule, an immigration officer determining whether you are eligible for entry into the United States must take into account the totality of circumstances surrounding your ability to be admitted. The existence or omission of one factor is not enough to deny admission.
You should assess your totality of circumstances before your attempt to enter the United States. This is where I can help you make the assessment and increase your chances of entry. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.