The Biden Administration announced on March 9, 2021 that it will no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule, a policy that made the green card process for immigrants difficult. Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas cited the rule is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.
“The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “Consistent with the President’s vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system.”
In addition, the Department of Justice will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 public charge rule. The department dismissed its pending appeals in the Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit, and is in the process of doing so in the Fourth Circuit.
Prior to the administrations decision, over 500 nonprofits affiliated with the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign urged the Biden administration to end the Trump-era public charge rule.
“While there is much community education, outreach and policy advocacy work ahead of us to ensure our communities, neighbors and families can, and do, feel safe in accessing critical human service programs, especially during COVID-19, this is a critically important day for us to collectively celebrate and uplift the voices of our immigrant families,” said Juliet K. Choi, president and CEO of Asian and Pacific Islanders American Health Forum. “This was truly a collective effort. We extend our gratitude to the litigators and parties who fought the rule in the courts, and the advocates and community organizers who ensured the whole of our communities were heard and protected.”
What this means for you
Applicants and petitioners should not provide information or evidence related solely to the Public Charge Final Rule. That means that applicants for adjustment of status should not submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, or any evidence or documentation required by Form I-944 when they file their Form I-485. Applicants and petitioners for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status should not provide information related to the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3).
If an applicant or petitioner already provided information related solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after March 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including, for example, information provided on Form I-944, evidence or documentation submitted with Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3). Any other information received will be evaluated consistent with the statute, regulations, and policies in effect at the time of adjudication.
If you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information that is solely required under the Public Charge Final Rule, including but not limited, to Form I-944, and your response is due on or after March 9, 2021, you do not need to provide that information. However, you do need to respond to the aspects of the RFE or NOID that otherwise pertain to the eligibility for the immigration benefit sought. If USCIS requires additional information or evidence to make a public charge inadmissibility determination under the statute and consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, we will issue another RFE or NOID.