The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Update on Supreme Court Ruling on Public Charge Rules, PIF Webinar on Thursday and Updated Flier

We are heartbroken to confirm that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has allowed the Trump Administration to proceed with implementing the "public charge" regulations to bar low income immigrants from getting legal status in the United States. As noted by the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign, "While the rule is permitted to take effect, the appeals concerning the reasoning in those injunctions are ongoing.  Although the “stay” decision is certainly a setback, the justices did not address the merits of the legal claims that were adopted unanimously by five district courts. The appellate cases are moving on expedited schedules and could be decided within a couple of months.  Positive appellate court results could expand the injunction beyond Illinois.  Likewise, the district court cases will continue towards final resolution of the rule’s legality."
 
If you need a refresher on Public Charge, the PIF Campaign is hosting a Public Charge 101 on Thursday at 3 PM EST.  We encourage you to register here: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/events/
 
The PIF Campaign has also updated some of its Know Your Rights materials here:  https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/know-your-rights/

Attached is a slightly updated flier from MLRI (and our Food Bank and Project Bread colleagues) about public charge and the SNAP program. This flier is not being re-translated into other languages until we learn the effective date of the rule change.  But there are some important concepts that have not changed:
  • Most LPRs and other legal immigrants who qualify for SNAP are NOT subject to the public charge rules (unless they leave the US for an extended period and then seek reentry). 
  • Receipt of SNAP and other benefits by one's dependents does NOT impact public charge.
  • The rule, when issued, will be prospective.  Past receipt of benefits (benefits the non-LPR may have qualified to receive) will not count. 
  • Receipt of SNAP and other benefits does not impact becoming a US citizen (unless the immigrant owes the state or government money due to fraud, etc)
And, on a bittersweet note, according to PIF - it's not about the benefits: According to PIF:
 
Use of public benefits will not automatically make you a public charge. Immigration officials must look at all your circumstances in determining whether you are likely to become a public charge in the future. This includes your age, health, income, assets, resources, education/skills, family you must support, and family who will support you. Positive factors, like having a job or health insurance, can be weighed against negative factors, like having used certain benefits or having a health condition. Either way, you will have a chance to show why you are not likely to rely on certain benefits in the future. Additionally, most immigrants who are subject to public charge are not eligible for the programs listed in the rule. 

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