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Court Decision Halts USCIS Public Charge Rule

USCIS announced today that based on recent court decisions against DHS in regards to the public charge rule, the agency is enjoined from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. (84 FR 41292, Aug. 14, 2019, final rule; as amended by 84 FR 52357, Oct. 2, 2019, final rule correction).

Public Charge- What’s that?

For applications and petitions that USCIS adjudicates on or after July 29, 2020, pursuant to the SDNY injunction, USCIS will not consider any information provided by an applicant or petitioner that relates to the Public Charge Rule, including information provided on the Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits in Part 5 on Form I-539, Part 3 on Form I-539A or Part 6 on Form I-129. Applicants and petitioners whose applications or petitions are postmarked on or after July 29, 2020, should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits on Form I-485, Form I-129, or Form I-539/I-539A.

As long as the July 29, 2020, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, et al. SDNY decision is in effect, USCIS will apply the 1999 public charge guidance that was in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020 to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020. In addition, USCIS will adjudicate any application or petition for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status on or after July 29, 2020, consistent with regulations in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented; in other words, they will not apply the public benefit condition.

Take aways:

  • If your application was filed before July 29, 2020, it will be adjudicated according to the Public Charge rule put in place on February 24, 2020
  • If your application has been filed on or after July 29, 2020, USCIS will apply the public charge guidance that was in place prior to February 24, 2020
  • As of July 29, 2020, applicants for I-485, Application to Adjust Status or Register Permanent Residence, do not have to include form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency

If you believe that you qualify to apply for permanent residency but have been hesitant or unable to because of the Public Charge rule, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss your options.