USCIS restarts green card denial for immigrants who use public benefits

seal of the united states court of appeals for the seventh circuit
Seal of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, USCIS will continue to apply the ‘public charge’ rule to deny immigrants permanent residency for using public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, etc.

This is because a federal appeals court has allowed the Trump administration’s public charge rule to go back into effect while it considers the case.

US District Judge Gary Feinerman in Chicago had struck down the rule on Monday. And USCIS stopped applying it to pending applications.

However, when Government attorneys appealed, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the ruling the next day, allowing the restrictions to take effect again.

Consequently, Matthew Bourke, USCIS spokesman said Wednesday that the agency would immediately restart applying the rule to pending cases. But will not “re-adjudicate any applications or petitions that were approved” in light of Monday’s decision.

Under the Trump administration’s rule, officials can deny permanent residency to legal immigrants over their use of food stamps, Medicaid, or other public benefits. Green card applicants must show they wouldn’t be burdens to the country, or “public charges.”

Trump administration argued that the controversial rule helps to ensure only those who are self-sufficient come to the country.

Meanwhile, Health experts have warned of poorer health outcomes and rising costs as low-income migrants chose between necessary services and trying to stay in the country legally.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Cook County filed the lawsuit in Chicago and planned to submit arguments to the appeals court this month.

But the rule has already been heavily litigated.

For instance, in January, the US Supreme Court reversed a hold on the policy after lawsuits. However, enforcement was halted by a federal judge in New York because of the coronavirus pandemic. By September, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals had reversed that hold, and the rule took effect nationwide.