Due to a Supreme Court ruling last week on February 24, the United States implemented a new regulation denying legal permanent residency to legal immigrants who seek to use food stamps and different public benefits. This regulation will impact many Indians dwelling in the US on an H-1B visa, looking forward to everlasting legal residency. Last Friday, the US Supreme Court approved the ‘public charge’ law, lifting the very last injunction. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the Department of Homeland Security is probably capable of implementing its regulation from Monday. The USCIS has already indicated that the immigration forms for visa extension/changes of status petitions filed on 2/24/2020 and thereafter have incorporated new questions as to whether the non-immigrant specialty worker has used certain public benefits.
Public benefits include the following as per the rule:
-supplemental Social Security income
-Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
-Medicaid federally funded with some exceptions
-Public housing programs, Section 8 Housing Assistance
-General Assistance programs or any of the cash assistance programs for income maintenance from federal, state, etc.
The new rule is geared to ensure that new visa holders and applicants for green card are self-sufficient and shall not use public benefits. The guideline on legal immigrants defines how the US government will classify a foreigner as inadmissible, and additionally whether or not he/she might be eligible to modify status to that of American lawful permanent resident or if he/she could at any point within the future turn out to be a public charge. As per the current political administration view, this law could help protect American taxpayers and welfare packages, in addition to lessening the federal deficit.
This may have an effect on the South Asian community, which consists of many Indians and their families. As per the new rule, it is a call for the people seeking an extension or change of status in the US to demonstrate that they have not acquired any public benefits over the allowed limit in view of obtaining their non-immigrant status.