The Trump administration’s “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule” places an extra layer of difficulty on immigrants seeking green cards through an Adjustment of Status or through consular proceedings. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) published an Inadmissibility Rule on August 14, 2019. Since that date, several federal courts have enjoined the implementation of the rule. The U.S. Supreme Court removed those injunctions, which means that all applications and petitions submitted after February 24, 2020, must comply with the rule.
A broad public charge rule dates back to the Immigration Act of 1882. The Trump administration’s Inadmissibility Rule defines explicitly what information USCIS can request. The 2019 rule also states that a person will be considered a public charge if they receive one or more public benefits (as set forth in the new rule) for more than 12 months in any 36-month period. The new rule means many applicants are inadmissible even though many immigrants who have received benefits in the past have become productive residents and citizens.
A federal district judge Northern District of Illinois, in November 2020, ruled that the 2019 Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule violates the Administration Procedures Act (A.P.A.). The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) stayed that judge’s ruling.