MI immigration advocates weigh in on changes to federal immigration rule on public charge

Aug 14, 2019

People holding miniature United States flag
Credit Elias Castillo on Unsplash

On Monday, the Trump administration released the final version of the public charge statute -- a statute allowing the government to reject green cards for people who are deemed likely to depend on government aid such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid. 

Here is Eva Alvarez from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center explaining how this could affect the local immigrant community. 

“If someone who is looking to adjust status and is looking to apply for a green card and has these benefits at the time that they submit their application they may be deemed to become a public charge and therefore denied their application for permanent residency in the United States.” 

The public charge statue applies to noncitizens applying for many types of visas or status in the country but it does exempt some immigrants.

“And those individuals are individuals who already have a green card, asylum or refugee status, or are applying for a T visa, a U visa, FIJ, or VAWA.”

While this statue is directly aimed at immigrants receiving public benefits, only 20% of immigrants are actually receiving these benefits according to the Department of Homeland Security’s analysis of the rule itself.

It is expected though, according to Alvarez, that fewer legal immigrants will receive green card approvals. 

“We are systematically mentioning who is a worthy immigrant and who is not based on the benefits that they are receiving and what they have to contribute to our community.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.