On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, announced a proposed rule that would change how the government classifies an immigrant entering the country or applying for a green card as a public charge. If approved, the rule would also take into account an individual’s use of public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and prohibit him or her from entering the US or applying for a green card.
Under longstanding immigration policy, the government requires immigrants applying for legal permanent resident status through a family member to prove that they will be self-sufficient once they become a permanent resident in the US. To meet this requirement, applicants usually showed proof of income that meets the threshold of 125% of the poverty guidelines, which is around $25,975 for a family of three. Immigrants who are unable to meet this threshold can combine the income of a joint sponsor with their own.
The Trump administration, however, is considering doing away with the joint sponsor solution and is proposing to allow agencies to do deeper background checks on green card applicants, taking into account factors such as age, education, health, credit score, and even the previous use of public benefits, which could be grounds for denial.