By Cheasty Anderson and Marianna Montes
There are lots of fancy lawyer words to describe what’s happening, but I am not a lawyer, so this is a not-lawyer breakdown. In simple terms, the Biden Administration has permanently ended the Trump public charge policy. The Children’s Defense Fund and immigration advocates celebrate the end of this harmful rule. Now we are working happily to inform the community about the Public Charge changes.
On March 9th, 2021, the Biden administration announced that they “will no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule” issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Trump Administration. The Supreme Court dismissed the case over the legality of the Trump administration’s public charge rule, and the 1999 policy went back into effect.
On March 15th, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the final rule and a notice confirming the removal of the 2019 public charge regulations and that they stopped applying it to all pending petitions and applications on March 9th. The Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency and other related forms were discontinued as well.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Individuals and families can now safely get the help and care they need:
- No one can be denied a COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or care based on immigration status, and it won’t affect any future immigration application.
- Getting help for health care, food, or housing won’t affect immigration applications.
- Programs serving children won’t affect immigration applications either.
- To mitigate the chilling effect in immigrant communities will take a major effort, and a comprehensive outreach and education strategy to re-enroll part of the millions of eligible children who have lost nutrition and health care supports due to the fear caused by this harmful policy in low-income immigrant communities. Check out our Public Charge and Private Dilemmas report for best practices and recommendations.
- The regulation still needs to be re-written so that a different administration wouldn’t be able to easily reverse the decision.
- We also need to rewrite the legislation that governs public charge, and that will be an uphill battle we might not win during this administration, but we will try!
For up-to-date information, please refer to Protecting Immigrant Families’ fact sheet for advocates.