No More I-944 For Green Card Applicants: Public Charge Rule Eliminated Permanently

In yet another good news announced by the Biden administration, all lawsuits trying to push for the public charge rule have been withdrawn from the U.S. courts. According to a missive by the Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice will no longer be pursuing it.

Accordingly, Form I-944 to prove financial independence and self-sufficiency will no longer be required as part of a U.S. green card application.

This was pursuant to President Biden’s vision to Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.

In the past federal judges have cited the following reasons to rescind the extended definition of the Public Charge rule:

  • The rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act which includes a detailed process for developing and enacting new regulations;
  • The ‘wealth test’ is arbitrary and capricious with no basis in its own statue;
  • The public charge rule does not consider the “predictable collateral consequences” of its implementation. This was in line with the Coronavirus pandemic, at which point the courts had stayed the execution of this rule;
  • The rule is discriminatory against non-white immigrants under the equal protection clause;
  • The rule as a whole exceeds the authority of the executive branch.

While the federal immigration law doesn’t allow noncitizens from receiving a green card if they are likely to become reliant on government assistance, the Trump administration took it a notch higher to include noncitizens who might potentially use government benefits like Medicaid or food stamps, for more than 12 months over a three-year period.

What Was The Public Charge Rule All About As Enforced In February 2020?

In 2019, “Public Charge” was defined as anyone would be considered inadmissible into the United States if he or she is likely to become “primarily” dependent on the US government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government’s expense.

This was assessed by administering a ‘wealth test’ implemented by USCIS. This wealth test assessed the age, health, family status including financial assets and educational background of the green card applicant.

While this definition of Public Charge has been dismissed in its entirety, all cases pertaining to it will be halted over the next few days. The DHS believes that pursuing the public charge rule is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.

Especially during the Covid pandemic, many lives were lost for fear of accessing medical treatment. Immigrants, both legal and undocumented feared severe penalties like deportation or family separation if they sought “health benefits and other government services available to them”

As per Biden’s decision not to defend the public charge rule in the U.S. courts, the Northern District of Illinois, which vacated the 2019 public charge rule, is in effect now. This, has in turn led to the dismissal of similar cases surrounding public charge in the Supreme Court, Seventh Circuit, and is in the process in the Fourth Circuit. 

Other Trump Cases Thrown Out Of U.S. Courts

  • Case involving funding for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border;
  • Case regarding withholding money for law enforcement from sanctuary cities and
  • Policy that required some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico before an asylum hearing.

As several immigrants celebrate this, Path2USA stays on top of the latest immigration news.