Many different personal factors influence your rights as an immigrant in the United States. In general, only those who meet certain standards can secure a visa, obtain a green card or earn naturalized citizenship.
Your education, work history and criminal background all influence your immigration rights. However, financial and economic matters can also affect your rights as an immigrant. People who want to live in the United States typically need to be able to support themselves and their dependents.
If you become a public charge and require certain government benefits, that could impact your immigration status. Not all benefits will affect your rights. If you need unemployment benefits because you lost your job or your employer went out of business, will that qualify you as a public charge?
Unemployment is not among the benefits that trigger the public charge rule
Housing benefits, welfare and certain other financial benefits can impact your rights. When received for a significant amount of time, they can directly impact your immigration options. Whether you receive one benefit for many months or multiple benefits for a short amount of time, the more public assistance you’ve received, the greater the potential impact on your immigration rights.
The good news for those concerned about the public charge rule is that unemployment compensation is not among the benefits that will potentially affect your right to stay in the country. Unemployment is a paid benefit, meaning that you receive it because you worked for long enough to qualify for those benefits. Unemployment can have other implications for immigration, but simply receiving the benefits while you look for a new job will not impact your immigration status.