The public charge rule, a Trump administration policy barring prospective immigrants from using social services, is under attack by the Biden administration.
Friday, the Biden team moved forward with plans to formally replace the regulation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a request for public comments on a new regulation to define how immigration officers can determine whether green card applicants are likely to become a public charge.
The public charge rule is just the latest immigration policy under Trump being targeted. Under the previous administration, DHS narrowed the definition of public charge so that immigration officers could reject applicants who had used, or could potentially use, services like food stamps.
On March 19, the Biden administration stopped enforcing Trump’s public charge regulations. The Department of Justice also announced it would no longer defend the rule against a large number of lawsuits challenging it, according to TheHill.com.
”The Biden Administration today took a step to ensure immigrants and their families can access health care, food assistance and other needs,” said Shelby Gonzales, vice president for immigration policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Immigration and Nationality Act requires officials to evaluate whether a prospective immigrant could become a public charge. It does not explicitly define the term. The new rule sought by DHS officials under Biden would clarify and provide specific guidelines.
According to DHS, the new process “will be fully consistent with law; that will reflect empirical evidence to the extent relevant and available; that will be clear, fair, and comprehensible for officers as well as for noncitizens and their families; that will lead to fair and consistent adjudications and thus avoid unequal treatment of the similarly situated; and that will not otherwise unduly impose barriers on noncitizens seeking admission to or adjustment of status in the United States.”
Critics of the former president and his immigration policy are encouraging the Biden administration to move quickly. They say immigrants continue to shy away from services for which they could be legally entitled.
”Even though the Trump Administration’s public charge rules are no longer in effect, the damage persists. Many families with immigrants continue to forgo critical services out of fear that it will prevent a family member from becoming a lawful permanent resident,” said Gonzales.