This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations, effective December 23, 2022, regarding determinations of whether noncitizens are inadmissible to the United States because they are likely at any time to become a public charge.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said DHS "will not penalize individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them." These benefits include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid (other than for long-term institutionalization), housing benefits, any benefits related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases, or other supplemental or special-purpose benefits.
Under the final rule, DHS will determine that a noncitizen is likely to become a public charge if the noncitizen is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or long-term institutionalization at government expense.
On August 14, 2019, DHS issued a different rule on this topic, which is no longer in effect.