Trump Administration Introduces Final “Public Charge” Rule

On Monday, August 12, the Trump Administration said it would move forward with new regulations that would deny green cards and visas to immigrants who use or are expected to use a wide range of government benefits, including food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. This expanded restriction will deny applicants if they are considered likely to need public assistance “at any time.” In the past, applicants would be denied if they were “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.”

In announcing the rule, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of USCIS, said: “Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideal of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America.”

Opponents see this rule as one more way to limit legal immigration and hurt the livelihood of immigrants already in the United States. The rule, which in 2018 received more than 260,000 comments on the Federal Register, is expected to be challenged by immigrant rights groups.

The final version of the “Public Charge” rule is set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday and could go into effect as soon as October 15, 2019.


For more on the Public Charge Rule | Listen to an Erickson Immigration Group Immigration Nerds podcast conversation between EIG Managing Director Hiba Anver and David Bier of the Cato Institute.