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*Urgent USCIS announcement: Medical treatment related to Covid-19 will not be considered as a negative factor in a Public Charge analysis. In other words, get medical treatment if you’re sick, whether you can afford to pay for it or not.*

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the implementation of the New Rule for Public Charge in all states, except Illinois, starting on February 24, 2020. Since this order’s approval, there has been a lot of buzz regarding what the rule means and what are the possible implications for immigrants who are looking to obtain a green card. 

The idea of making non-citizens ineligible for a green card, based on the likelihood that they may become a “public charge” is not completely new. However, with the introduction of additional qualifications and the increase in the household’s financial earning threshold, immigrants that submit their application on or after February 24, 2020 will now have to provide additional information to prove that they are financially stable and that they will not need the financial support of the U.S. government.

If an applicant for legal residency, through adjustment of status or immigrant visa, is identified as likely to be a “public charge” to the government, they are “inadmissible” to the United States and cannot become a resident. At STERN Law, as Immigration Attorneys we have handled many cases where we have successfully proven that our clients are eligible for green cards by establishing that they are self-sufficient or able to earn a sufficient income, and therefore are not likely to become a public charge. Our clients successfully earn their green cards and maintain lawful permanent residency. 

There are significant steps that we take at STERN Law to ensure the success of our clients’ applications: 

  • We will now prove there is no risk of becoming a public charge through factors such as age, health, financial resources, assets, family status, education and skills, affidavits of support – to justify a totality of the circumstances. 
  • Before, a combined household income that was greater than 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, between the applicant and the co-sponsor, was sufficient to uphold an application. Now, we should prove that it is 250%. The financial support from a co-sponsor will be reviewed much more carefully to ensure that they can truly support adding the applicant to their household at any moment if needed.
  • We will give the government supplementary details about the applicant and/or the co-sponsor’s health, earning ability, financial status as well as about other members of their household, and their ability to pay for healthcare. 

The Trump Administration is more harshly enforcing immigration laws than ever before. The STERN Law team works hard to ensure that our clients are not improperly judged based on current financial status or viability, and that their presence in the U.S. is valued. 

The public benefits that are now also considered for Public Charge determinations are:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Cash Assistance from The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
  • State or local cash assistance programs for income maintenance often called “general assistance” programs.
  • Medicaid that is used to support immigrants who reside in an institution for long-term care – such as a nursing home or mental health institution – may also be considered as an adverse factor in the totality of the circumstances for purposes of public charge determinations.

There are a lot of subjective factors that are going to influence immigration officers’ decisions, which means that everything in your application should be thoroughly vetted and justified. Now more than ever, it is a priority to work with an attorney that can guide you step by step in your application process. Your story matters, and the way you communicate that story can be the unique factor that increases your possibilities for approval. At STERN Law, we always have approached immigration cases as courtroom litigators, and this method is more significant than ever because strong evidence is a critical factor in this process, and we will not leave anything to chance. 

We want to urge folks in the community to contact us right away if you want a professional to ensure successful approval of your important permanent status opportunity. We have experience navigating complex cases and will better advise you on steps you can take to shield yourself and your loved ones from a negative outcome involving this new policy. There are over 20 factors to consider, and we can help advise you on steps you can take to make sure your case is approved. 

At STERN Law, we know what it takes to protect your eligibility for immigration benefits. Contact us at 404.445.6919 to schedule a consultation, and let’s work together to defend your American dream.