The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated their public charge resources webpage with more information to help reduce unwarranted confusion and fear among immigrants and their families that may prevent them from getting access to important government services available to them.
USCIS will continue to administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility (section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance to determine whether a noncitizen is inadmissible on the public charge ground.
Some common concerns, such as misconceptions about the public charge ground of inadmissibility, have been addressed as well. For example, USCIS do not consider vaccines or public benefits specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic when making public charge determinations. USCIS encourage everyone, including noncitizens, to seek necessary medical care, including treatment or preventive services for COVID-19. Noncitizens may seek pandemic-related benefits and services (including food assistance, housing programs, and others) for which they are eligible—without fear of negative consequences to their immigration status.
This content clarifies that relatively few noncitizens in the United States are both subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility and eligible for the public benefits considered under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and programs (including Medicaid) supporting noncitizens who are institutionalized for long-term care at government expense.
Consistent with Executive Order 14012, The administration states: “We remain committed to restoring trust in legal immigration system. USCIS will ensure that immigrants and their families, many of whom are essential and frontline workers, are not deterred by undue fear or confusion from obtaining access to important government services for which they are eligible to keep their families safe and healthy.”
The 1999 Interim Field Guidance is the policy that was in place before the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule. The 2019 Public Charge Final Rule is no longer in effect. On Feb. 24, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. After completing an analysis of the public input received on the NPRM, DHS plans to publish a new final rule in July or August 2022 that will put in place new regulations implementing the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The new final rule will ultimately replace the 1999 Interim Field Guidance.