January 2020

Supreme Court allows the Trump Administration the Ability to Impose Wealth Test to New Immigrants

On January 27, 2019 the Supreme Court of the United States lifted a nationwide injunction that froze the Trump administration’s changes to how it implements the public charge ground of inadmissibility on new applicants for Lawful Permanent Residence.

Previously, a lower court had issued a stay that blocked the new rule from taking effect on October 15, 2019.

The public charge ground of inadmissibility is a tool that immigration officers have that they use to deny people admission into the United States if the officer thinks that that person would become a public charge on the United States. Previously, as long as the immigrant had a sponsor or co-sponsor who earned enough money, based on the government issued poverty guidelines, the person was admitted into the United States. Under the new rule, the immigration officer has discretion to deny a person if the officer believes, for any reason, that the person would become a public charge on the United States. The new rule gives immigration officers extreme discretion to deny immigrants access to the American dream.

The new public charge is being called a “wealth test”, aimed at keeping immigrants from lower socio-economic status from ever obtaining lawful status in the United States. Some negative factors that the officer can consider when deciding if, in their opinion, the immigrant would become a public charge, are:

  • Whether the person has received public benefits
  • Whether someone in the persons household has received public benefits
  • Age
  • Education Level
  • Employment History
  • Credit History
  • Proficiency in English

The Supreme Court has given this administration the green light to impose this dangerous rule immigrants seeking to obtain lawful status in this country. The administration has yet to release information as to how soon this rule will take effect, and what changes will come to the Adjustment of Status process.

The new rule would not affect the requirements or the application process for people applying to become U.S. citizens.


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