Those born abroad and living in the United States and those who hope to enter the United States have to follow many special rules. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) establishes and enforces rules for visas, permanent residency and naturalized citizenship.
Those who want to live or work in the United States must meet certain standards. They need to be able to pass medical exams and background checks. They also typically need to show that they have enough resources to support themselves or the ability to secure gainful employment.
The USCIS has a rule against immigrants becoming a public charge. This public charge rule affects the immigration rights of those who need government aid. Until recently, the public charge rule has been a significant complication for immigrants in the United States.
The USCIS has reversed its previous stance
For several years, the USCIS aggressively enforced the public charge rule. Although self-sufficiency has always been important for prospective immigrants, it was even more of a focus in recent years. Those who receive benefits like food support under Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), subsidized housing benefits and even Medicaid benefits could face immigration consequences.
Thankfully for those who may have needed benefits in recent months, the USCIS has relaxed its stance on the public charge rule. As of March 9, 2021, immigrants no longer have to worry about public benefits alone dictating their immigration status. While self-sufficiency remains important, pedantic enforcement of benefit limitations should no longer be the sole reason for someone’s removal from the United States.
Learning about the different rules that could affect your immigration efforts will help protect you and your family.