Biden Proposes Repealing “Public Charge” Rule for Immigrants

Biden Proposes Repealing “Public Charge” Rule For Immigrants

San Diego – The administration of President Joe Biden proposed this Thursday to reverse a rule that denies permanent residence to applicants who receive certain public benefits, and which was one of the emblematic measures of former President Donald Trump to limit legal immigration.

The government stopped enforcing the limits imposed by Trump in March, so the announcement was more of a formality to protect the measure from legal challenges. Its publication in the Federal Register in the coming days will initiate a 60-day public comment period, followed by a final version.

While the proposal has no immediate impact, it is an important step in reversing Trump’s version of the “public charge” rule, as Biden promised during his campaign.


Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Trump’s rule “did not fit with the values ​​of our nation.”

“With this proposal we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and people will not be penalized for choosing access to health benefits and other supplemental government services that are available to them,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

The Biden administration’s revisions largely restore rules that had been in place since 1999, which, among other things, do not take into account the use of benefits such as food vouchers, health services and transportation vouchers to the time of determining eligibility in a legal residency process.

Trump made his intentions clear during his first year in office, but the measure did not take effect until 2020, mainly due to legal challenges and procedural requirements. Still, it had “shocking effects” by leading people to suspend or deny benefits to those they were eligible for fear it could affect their applications for legal residency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Thursday. acronym in English).

Under Trump’s rule, the government denied green cards to just three people, but their applications were later reopened and approved, DHS said in its 291-page proposal, demonstrating the measure’s limited scope.

The fears it sparked had the biggest impact, making people unwilling to apply even when they were eligible, said Jessica Bolter, an associate analyst for US immigration policy at the Migration Policy Institute.

His organization found that applications for public assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, food stamps, and Medicaid fell twice as fast among families with at least one non-U.S. citizen than among families made up entirely of U.S. citizens between 2016 and 2019, according to census data.

Immigration activists applauded the federal government’s move, even though many of them have had a distant relationship with the White House because of rules that bar many migrants from seeking asylum at the border.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services, tweeted that it is a “major move away from the Trump administration’s use of the public charge rule as a weapon.”

No immigrant families should live in fear that accessing benefits they are entitled to will jeopardize their legal status in the US. An important departure from the Trump administration’s previous weaponization of the Public Charge rule…

— Krish O’Mara Vignarajah (@KrishVignarajah) February 17, 2022

The proposal could still face legal challenges. Texas and other states have often tried to stop Biden from reversing Trump’s immigration policies.



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