GREAT NEWS! Public Charge Updates (March 2021)

What is this great news as it relates to public charge?

The Biden administration withdrew the appeal that was pending in the Supreme Court for public charge that had been filed by immigration. For those of you who have been going through an immigration process for a while now, you know about public charge and the changes that came along with it last year.

But for those of you who are new to your immigration journey or if you’re not quite familiar, I’d like to go over a little bit of a background of exactly what is public charge, what happened over the past year, why is this good news and how it impacts you.

Public charge is an area of immigration law that’s existed for a long time. It’s an area of immigration law that says an immigrant can’t be a public charge. They have to be self-sufficient. That’s been around for a long time and we’ve always filed a form I-864 affidavit of support to prove that the immigrant, the petitioner, would be self-sufficient and that they would not become a public charge.

What happened though on February 24th of 2020 was that changes were implemented to public charge to introduce a whole new form: form I-944. A very long form that was very invasive and also has been referred to by many as an invisible wall and a wealth test that had been implemented in the immigration process. It was asking for bank account information, credit score, debts, assets, and so many things that were beyond what public charge asked for so long.

What had happened then after February 24th of 2020 is there was quite a roller coaster of appeals. For those of you who have been through your immigration journey or have been going through an immigration journey, you know it was quite a roller coaster.

The form I-944 was required and then it wasn’t and then it was and then it wasn’t.

To summarize, that change occurred in February of 2020. We had a brief reprieve there and in July, we were excited and we thought the I-944 would be removed for a while. Then the government appealed.

What the Biden administration has done is there was an appeal before the Supreme Court about public charge. That appeal had allowed that form I-944 to stay in existence and the Biden administration withdrew that appeal. They did that today and we’re also seeing that the government is wanting to withdraw the appeals that are pending in the other circuit courts.

If it continues on this path, this I-944 and these changes to public charge will hopefully be disappearing. We have to wait for USCIS to provide an announcement and guidance about this decision today to withdraw this appeal. We’re hoping very soon that we will see USCIS make an announcement. That guidance will come out and that we can say goodbye to form I-944.