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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump Administration, Allows Implementation of Public Charge Rule

On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5–4 in favor of allowing the Trump administration to begin applying its revised public charge rule. The rule’s implementation was blocked in October 2019 by preliminary injunctions issued by a handful of federal judges.

The final version of the public charge rule defines a “public charge” as an alien who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period. The Trump administration’s public charge rule requires that immigration officers take an expansive look into the private details of certain foreign nationals—including those applying for green cards or seeking to change or extend their nonimmigrant status—to determine an individual’s likelihood of becoming a public charge. A public charge determination may be used to deny immigration benefits.

Moving Forward

It is unclear how soon the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin to enforce the new public charge guidelines. DHS had previously issued a series of new and revised immigration forms to be used in conjunction with the rule. It is not yet known if the department will use those forms as originally planned or issue updated forms. The instructions for the forms required a significant amount of additional documentation to be submitted, including evidence of household income, credit reports, and health insurance. In addition, it is not yet clear whether the Department of State will implement the version of the public charge rule that was put on hold pending the outcome of the injunctions, or will issue a new version with any revisions.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

Melissa Manna, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Raleigh, Immigration Practice Group Writer
Immigration Practice Group Writer

Melissa Manna is an Immigration Practice Group Writer. Her primary focus is writing and editing legal articles relating to immigration for the firm’s online and print publications, websites, and newsletters.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Melissa spent 9 years as in-house counsel at TowerCo, one of the largest independent wireless tower companies in the U.S., representing the company in all aspects of commercial real estate. During that time she managed due diligence, advised and implemented risk management solutions, and closed transactions...

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