Discussion Points for Punto Legal –September 18, 2019
1. Visa Bulletin.
The October 2019 visa bulletin is out. The spouses and children of residents from Mexico category is current. That means that there is no wait list for these spouses and children. The cut-off date for brothers and sisters of citizens from Mexico is 15 December 1997; this category moved up by 10 and ½ months from 1 January 1997.
2. New Public Charge Rule.
We are going to continue to talk about the new public charge rule today. Recall that the new rule was published on August 14, 2019, but will not go into effect until October 15, 2019. It does not apply to immigration applications filed before October 15, 2019. Nor does it apply to pending adjustment of status applications and new applications postmarked before October 15, 2019. The public charge rule does not apply to the U visa program. Public charge does not apply to people who are already permanent residents. It does not apply when permanent residents renew their green card. There is not a public charge test for citizenship.
At least, six lawsuits have been filed against the rule. But, there have been no decisions from the lawsuits.
A number of Democratic senators have introduced a bill in Congress to block the public charge rule.
When we think about applying the public charge rule, we should start with the heavily weighted negative and positive factors:
The heavily weighted negative factors are: (1) Unemployment by an intending immigrant who is authorized to work, and (2) a serious medical condition requiring extensive medical treatment and no insurance. The heavily weighted positive factors are (1) a household income of at least 250 percent of the poverty guidelines. For a household size of four, including the intending immigrant, 250 percent of the poverty guideline is $80,468; (2) the intending immigrant has an income of at least 250% of the poverty guidelines; and (3) is health insurance, provided that it is not subsidized by the Government.
Most people will not have heavily weighted negative or positive factors. So we get to the heart of the rule. The immigration service will consider the:
· Intending immigrant’s age, in particular whether the immigrant is between 18 and 62.
· Household size, the smaller the better.
· Financial status. This includes household income and ownership of assets; health insurance; and financial liabilities.
· Education and skill. This includes ability to obtain employment; history of employment; high school diploma; occupational skills; ability to speak English
· Affidavit of support.
If you have a public charge worry or scenario in mind, let’s discuss it!
3. Green Cards for Widows and Widowers.
We got an interesting case from a woman in Rifle last week. Our client entered the U.S. with a visa in 2005. She later met and married a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, her husband got cancer and died last December before he fixed his wife’s papers. The issue is; can she still get a green card? The answer is yes. An immigrant who had been married to a U.S. citizen before death may petition for herself within two years of the death as long as the spouses were not legally separated and the immigrant had not remarried. In addition, no affidavit of financial support is necessary. We were able start working on this woman’s green card.