DHS Moves Forward with Controversial Public Charge Rule

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule. The rule denies visas to persons the government deems to be a ‘public charge’, through their income and potential use of federal programs like Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing programs, as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid and parts of Medicare. The final rule significantly expands the list of federal programs that can be used to determine if someone is deemed a public charge and is scheduled to take effect on Oct. 15, 2019.

The Final Rule acknowledges that “DHS received 266,077 comments on the proposed rule, the vast majority of which opposed the rule” and that the rule is intended to “ensure that aliens subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient, i.e., do not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities, as well as the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations.“

The No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act (H.R. 3222), sponsored by Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), would block funding of the regulation’s implementation. The House Appropriations Committee has also approved draft funding legislation for the DHS that would also block the regulation’s implementation.

For more on this topic, see reporting from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico and The Wall Street Journal.