US Department of Homeland Security seeks public input


FILE – In this Aug. 17, 2018, file photo, people arrive before the start of a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami Field Office in Miami. USCIS, The cash-strapped federal agency that oversees that nation’s legal immigration system, scrapped plans Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, to furlough 13,000 employees, or nearly 70% of its workforce. The agency said it would maintain operations through September when the the fiscal year ends. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking data and information from the public that the organization will use to create a public charge regulatory proposal.

DHS wants to make sure that the proposal is fair, consistent with the law and well-informed. Comments from the public will help DHS ensure that the proposed regulation does not impede noncitizens seeking admission or status adjustment in the U.S.

“It is critical that immigrants, many of whom are essential and frontline workers, can access necessary government services for which they are eligible to keep their families safe and healthy,” said Ur M. Jaddou, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “DHS is taking an essential step to implement a fair and rational rule that does not cause fear and confusion among immigrant communities.”

DHS has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit data from the public, non-profit sector, state, territorial, local and tribal agencies that offer public benefits programs. The ANPRM identifies considerations associated with the public charge ground of inadmissibility. These considerations include how DHS will define the term “public charge,” which public benefits DHS should consider relevant to the public charge inadmissibility determination, and how DHS should assess the mandatory statutory factors when determining if a noncitizen is likely to become a public charge.

The ANPRM asks for feedback from the public on these and other matters starting Monday, Aug. 23 and closing on Friday, Oct. 22. There will also be upcoming virtual public listening sessions for the public to weigh in more.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a noncitizen who is likely to become a public charge is generally inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident. Until DHS completes the process and implements new regulations, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will apply the public charge inadmissibility statute consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance.

Under this guidance, USCIS does not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), vaccinations, treatment for COVID-19, public housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, etc. as part of their determination. the public charge inadmissibility determination.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit their website here.  

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