Discussion Points for Punto Legal –August 21, 2019
1. New Public Charge Rule.
The new public charge rule is, first of all, misleading. It has focused our attention on what public benefits are off-limits, if you want to immigrate now or in the future. But, the truth is almost no intending immigrant in our community will have received any public benefit for herself or himself. So we have to focus on the other parts of the new rule. Let’s start with the time-line for the new rule.
1. The new public charge rule was published on August 14, 2019 but will not go into effect until October 15, 2019.
2. The new public charge rule does not apply to immigration applications filed before October 15, 2019.
3. The new public charge rule does not apply to pending adjustment of status applications and new applications postmarked before October 15, 2019.
3. New Rule Does not Apply to
4. The new public charge rule does not apply to immigrants fixing their papers at the U.S. Consulate at Ciudad Juarez, yet.
5. The public charge rule does not apply to the U visa program.
4. Use of Benefits by Other Family Members
6. The use of benefits by family members, such as children, are not counted against the applicant for immigration status.
7. Children under 21 and pregnant women will not be penalized under the new public charge rule for Medicaid. WIC does not count as a public benefit.
8. School-funded programs like free and reduced lunch, emergency Medicaid, Head Start and more all remain safe to use.
5. Permanent Residents
9. If you are a permanent resident, and you have not traveled outside the U.S. for more than180 days, you cannot be deported if you accept public benefits. I have been wracking my brain to try to figure out how the public charge rule would evee apply to permanent residents. The only thing I can think of is the case of returning residents. This public charge rule could apply if a permanent resident leaves the United States for more than 180 days. If a green card holder travels outside the United States for more than 180 days during one trip, the government can ask questions to see if the person is a "public charge" upon returning to the U.S. It is important for green card holders to speak to a trusted immigration attorney before leaving the United States for more than 180 days.
10. To renew your green card, there is no public charge test.
11. There is no public charge test to become a citizen. Even if you have used public benefits in the past, you can become a citizen.
6. Financial Sponsors
12. If you are a financial sponsor, you can sponsor a family member and still use still use public benefits.
13. It will be important to review your family member’s financial documentation with a trusted immigration attorney or accredited representative to prepare a strong application.
7. In the Future
14. Intending immigrants will have to file an entirely new immigration form called a Declaration of Self-Sufficiency,
15. For financial sponsors, it will be important to file your federal income taxes and report all your income. Do not report your nephews and nieces in Mexico as dependents. The Government will be demanding your tax transcript from the Internal Revenue Service.
16. Find out what your credit score is and try to improve it. The Government will be asking for your credit score.
17. It may not be a good idea to use a joint sponsor. We are not sure what the effect of having a joint sponsor will be.
8. Consular Processing.
For people fixing their papers at the U.S. Consulate at Juarez, I have unhappy news. The wait between the time your case is ready to go, that is, "documentarily qualified," and time of you interview has now gone to 11 months. This is unsatisfactory. You should complain to anyone who will listen. On September 4 at the library in Rifle, you can complain to Senator Bennet’s regional representative about your immigration delay. Believe it or not, this representative actually wants to hear your complaints. If you want more information, give us a call.