State of New York, Vermont and Connecticut and supported by Illinois had put in a motion with the US Supreme Court to suspend the Public Charge rule as Coronavirus ravages the country. However, the Supreme Court denied the plea and upheld the public Charge rule which continues to be in effect today.
The Public Charge rule that went into effect on February 24, 2020 denies immigrants permanent residency in the US if they use or are deemed likely to use any public assistance from the US government in the future. This could range from basic healthcare insurance to food stamps.
As coronavirus spread across the US and President Trump declared a National Emergency, State of New York filed a motion asking the US Supreme Court to suspend the enforcement of the Public Charge Rule. With the fear of impacting their current immigration status, or hurting the chances of getting a green card, many of these immigrants are not seeking basic healthcare if infected by the deadly Coronavirus.
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According to the motion, as Coronavirus reached pandemic levels and citing the immediate and dire need for health care, food and housing, immigrants in the country should not be denied these basic requirements. Denying these, not only puts these immigrants at risk, but exposes all who might come in contact with them.
As of today, US has recorded over one million confirmed Coronavirus cases and 62,000 fatalities. With more than 22 million having filed for unemployment benefits, the economic crisis is unprecedented and leading to a long financial recession.
Having denied the motion to suspend the public charge rule, the Supreme Court however, did offer the possibility that a State District court could consider a request for making an exception from this rule. Anyone wanting to seek public assistance should first consult an immigration lawyer to ensure the consequences are not detrimental to their immigration status.
It is important to keep in mind that should there be any need to leave the country due to their visa status, any and all travel has been temporarily suspended in many countries and borders have been closed to preserve social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus.
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