On 12th August, a federal appellate court in USA passed a ruling that allows the Trump administration to enforce a wealth test for people who apply for a USA Green Card or immigrant visa – in all states except Connecticut, New York and Vermont. The wealth test essentially empowers immigration officers to refuse green card applicants who would rely, or are likely to rely, on forms of government assistance (food stamps, housing vouchers, etc.).
To decide if these immigrants could become a ‘public charge’, the officers will analyze their wealth, English proficiency, age, education, health, etc. The controversial regulation, which is the widest restriction on lawful immigration to USA in recent times, had prompted the three excluded states to sue the Trump administration.
A New York federal judge had previously ruled that this rule hindered COVID-19 containment efforts as it discourages immigrants from availing public assistance (which includes medical treatment) during the pandemic. No reason was provided for removing the block on the country-wide implementation of this public charge rule, which was initially to be enforced in October 2019 but was delayed till February 2020 due to orders from federal judges.
Since immigrants were severely impacted by the pandemic, the attorneys general of Connecticut, New York and Vermont had requested the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision of setting aside the injunctions by lower courts. These states also submitted declarations of advocates, local officials and doctors stating that immigrants were afraid of losing their US immigration status if they sought government assistance and medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This resulted in the policy being halted until the virus is no longer a national emergency. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will review the order to decide if the policy is viable for re-implementation wherever applicable. If implemented, it will redefine how applications for the USA Green Card and immigrant visas are evaluated. To navigate the process and meet eligibility requirements, we invite you to seek the guidance of seasoned consultants at Abhinav Immigration Services.