Ruling allows immigration officials to deny permanent resident status to families using public assistance

Posted: Updated:

Earning permanent status in the United States became more complex.

A new Supreme Court ruling allows immigration officials to deny permanent resident status to families using public assistance.

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court gave immigration officials the green light that could jeopardize green cards for immigrants who are using public benefits.

"This issue with illegal immigration ensures that those immigrating here have the ability to seek opportunity and to prosper,” says Rep. Colin Schmitt

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, about 63% of noncitizen households access welfare programs.

Attorney Cynthia Tejeda handles immigration cases at the Hudson Valley Justice Center. She says the new "public charge" rules by the Trump Administration expands what programs are considered welfare.

She says the changes will now include cash benefits, long-term institutionalized care, and anyone receiving Medicaid or SNAP benefits, known as food stamps.

"Now they're going to be looking at the applicants age, health, employment and employability, skills, education, income, family size,” says Tejeda.

This is the information immigration officials will use to determine if applicants would likely require public assistance if they do become a citizen.

Tejeda believes the change will result in more applicants getting denied.

“The factors are going to be weighed against each other, there's no black and white,” she says.

The new rule was supposed to go in effect last October until a New York judge halted it. That halt was lifted by this week’s Supreme Court ruling.

This will only impact applications submitted on or after the new effective date which has not been set.

Tejeda says there are certain groups who won't be impacted by the new public charge including those with crime victim visas and beneficiaries of The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

She advises non-citizen households utilizing benefits to speak with an attorney first before making any changes or dropping those benefits.

Families in need of legal assistance are encouraged to contact the HVJC by clicking here.

 

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