Its official! The Trump-era Public Charge Rule has found its way to the dust bin of history. Acting on a joint request from the Biden Administration (which refused to defend the policies in court) and the Plaintiff that was challenging the Rule, on March 9, 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case that was centered around the policy. The effect of this ruling was to leave in place the ruling from the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois which vacated the Rule in November 2020.
USCIS immediately acted on the ruling by removing Form I-944 from its website and providing the following guidance on its public charge page:
- On or after March 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners should NOT provide any information required solely by the Public Charge Final Rule. That means that applicants for adjustment of status should NOT file Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, or any evidence or documentation required on that form with 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 has already provided such information, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after March 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information provided that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including, for example, information provided on the Form I-944, evidence or documentation submitted with Form I-944, and 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).
- If you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information that is solely required by 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 the information solely required by the Public Charge Final Rule. However, you DO need to respond to the aspects of the RFE or NOID that otherwise pertain to the eligibility for the immigration benefit you are seeking. 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, then USCIS will send you another RFE or NOID.
This news is such a welcome development to Immigrants and their sponsors who have been required to comply with the regulation – which was essentially a “wealth test” designed to bar immigrants from obtaining permanent residents by putting their financial lives under a microscope. Unfortunately, the Public Charge rule also had the effect of causing immigrants to avoid seeking health care and economic support, particularly during the Covid pandemic, out of fear that this might interfere with their ability to qualify for future immigration benefits. As stated by USCIS, from and after March 9, 2021, Immigrants will be required to comply with the regulations that were previously in place (which come from the 1999 Interim Field Guidance). In sum, these regulations center around complying with the requirements imposed by the I-864 Affidavit of Support.
If you have any questions about this post or need assistance with your U.S. Immigration case, contact Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org