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Public Charge Statement of Self-Sufficiency and the Totality of the Circumstances Framework

The Chicago immigration attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer follow closely the legal developments and litigation in the application of the Public Charge Rule.  The Department of Homeland Security’s regulations interpreting the Public Charge Inadmissibility include definitions and explanations about what factors DHS will consider in determining that a person is likely to become a public charge.  The DHS has enumerated the following factors:

  • Applicant’s Age
  • Applicant’s Health
  • Family Status
  • Applicant’s Assets, Resources, and Financial Status
  • Applicant’s Education and Skills
  • Applicant’s Immigration Status and Expected Period of Admission
  • Sponsor’s Ability to Support
  • Previous Public Charge Inadmissibility

The DHS will weigh each factor individually and cumulatively.  The DHS will assess the weighed degree to which each factor is negative or positive.  The factors will be weighed as positive, heavily weighed positive, neither positive or negative, negative, or heavily weighed negative.  The DHS (USCIS) and the DOS (Consulates) will apply the totality of circumstances framework to determine whether an alien is more or less likely to become a public charge in the future.

For example, under Applicant’s Age, the DHS will consider age between 18 and 61 as a positive factor, and age under 17 and over 62, as a negative factor.  Under Applicant’s Health, the DHS will consider the medical conditions identified on the immigration medical exams.  Medical conditions that the designated physician has identified as significant enough to interfere with the applicant’s ability to provide and care for him or herself, to attend school or to work, or that is likely to require extensive medical treatment in the future is considered a negative factor.  A heavily weighted negative factor is having a serious medical condition and lack of insurance and either lack of prospect of obtaining private health insurance or lack the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical condition related to such medical condition.

Under Applicant’s Education and Skills, the DHS gives positive weight to education, basic English proficiency, being a primary caregiver, other language skills in addition to English, skills and certifications relative to education.  The DHS gives negative weight if the alien does not have a high school diploma or GED, no work experience, no occupational skills, and has limited to no English language proficiency.  A heavily weighted negative is if the alien is not a full-time student and has work permit but is unable to demonstrate current or recent employment history or reasonable prospect of future employment.

The matrix is quite complicated the immigration attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer PC have studied the regulations very carefully.  We have created a comprehensive analytical tool to identify weaknesses and suggest how one can demonstrate that their situation factors positively.  If you have any questions about the Public Charge rule, contact the immigration attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer.

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