In the past, USCIS – the agency that processes green card applications within the U.S. – would deny applications if the person applying for the green card is likely to be a public charge, meaning someone who is living off of cash benefits rather than working for income. To get around this, applications would require Form I-864, showing that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident made enough income to ‘sponsor’ the green card applicant.
With this new rule, that form will no longer be enough. If the proposed rule is enacted, here are some changes that will take place:
- it is not just cash benefits, but any kind of benefit being considered (including: non-emergency Medi-cal, CHIP, even Obamacare subsidies);
- the Form I-864 will now just be one factor in determining public charge and sometimes won’t be enough;
- immigration is now considering how likely someone is to need assistance in the future, meaning that even if you have a good job now, being of old age or in poor health might lead to a green card denial, and
- even if you are not receiving public benefits now, but have in the past, you could still be denied a green card. There are other changes being proposed as well, and some are just downright cruel.
If you would like to know how these changes might affect your green card application, or if you think you might qualify for a green card in the future, give our office a call at (916) 613-3553 to assess the possibilities in your case. More than ever, it’s important to get the right kind of help.