In a damning 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the restrictive revisions to the Public Charge Rule turning its back on the long-established practice of welcoming all immigrants. Ironically, this decision would have prevented their (and many of the rule’s proponents’) own ancestors from immigrating to the U.S. The regulation, previously held in abeyance under a nationwide preliminary injunction was overturned in the 5-4 decision led by the conservative wing of the Supreme Court. The impact of the implementation of this new rule has far-reaching consequences, permitting the more privileged (financially and academically) to be granted lawful permanent residency.
Immigrants applying for an immigrant visa or admission as lawful permanent residents who have or are likely to accept public assistance, as well as those otherwise viewed as “undesireable” under the new “totality of circumstances” test (in the discretion of an immigration or consular officer) are inadmissible.
The new rule also directs officers to consider the “likelihood” that the affidavit of support Sponsor “would actually provide the statutorily-required amount of financial support” in fulfilling their promises under the affidavit of support. Thus, while not directly considering whether the Sponsor has accepted public benefits or is a public charge, it does take into account the likelihood the sponsor will actually meet his or her sponsorship obligations.
Applicants in the US must now submit a new form, I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency with Form I-485 packet. Applicants outside the US processing for an Immigrant Visa must now complete form DS-5540 Public Charge Questionnaire.
Unfortunately, the public charge rule and totality of circumstances balancing test becomes effective on 2/24/2020 and impacts BOTH those seeking admission as a lawful permanent resident through Adjustment of Status in the US as well as Consular processing for an Immigrant Visa. For more information, see our FAQs on the public charge and totality of circumstances issue.