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USCIS will begin implementing the Public Charge Rule on February 24, 2020

A new legal wall for immigrants and nonimmigrants will go up on February 24, 2020.  The Department of Homeland Security will begin implementing the new Public Charge Rule.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will begin implementing the Public Charge Rule on and after February 24, 2020.  The rule will not be applied for applicants with physical address in Illinois as a result of an injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The DHS has requested a stay of the injunction from the Seventh Circuit in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to stay the nationwide injunction.   If the Seventh Circuit lifts the injunction, the USCIS will provide additional guidance.  The USCIS has a special address and webpage for applicants from Illinois who live in Illinois.

According to public announcement, the USCIS will apply the rule to petitions and application postmarked on or after February 24, 2020.  For petitions or applications sent by commercial carrier, the postmark date will be reflected on the courier receipt.  For applications that are postmarked prior to February 24, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security will not consider the alien’s application, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, when determining whether the public benefits condition applies to applications or petitions for extension of stay or change of status, USCIS will only consider public benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020.

USCIS posted new forms in connection with application for immigration benefits.

USCIS  also posted revised and updated forms:

On and after Feb. 24, 2020, the USCIS will reject prior edition forms if the postmark date is on or after Feb. 24, 2020, except in Illinois.

The Rule is implementation of INA Sec. 212(a)(4), which states, in relevant part:

(4) Public charge.

(A) In general.-Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time ofapplication for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible. (B) Factors to be taken into account.-

(i) In determining whether an alien is excludable under this paragraph, the consular officer or the Attorney General shall at a minimum consider the alien’s-

(I) age;

(II) health;

(III) family status;

(IV) assets, resources, and financial status; and

(V) education and skills

(ii) In addition to the factors under clause (i), the consular officer or the Attorney General may also consider any affidavit of support under section 213A for purposes of exclusion under this paragraph.

Immigration law is not for the faint-hearted.  If you intend to send any application or petition to USCIS, consult an attorney.  You can call the law office of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.  Our devoted immigration attorneys are monitoring the Public Rule in Illinois and elsewhere.