MCALLEN, Texas – Earlier this week the last injunction was lifted by a U.S. Appellate court, paving the way for the Public Charge Rule to go into effect and advocates say the law is confusing. In his recent trip to the Rio Grande Valley, Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli provided some clarification and history behind the rule.
In January, by a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction which had been filed by a New York federal judge against the Trump administration’s public charge rule. The rule makes it harder for applicants to obtain a green card if someone is using public benefits long term.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting DHS Deputy Secretary, “The essence of that rule is to implement the 1996 law that requires self-sufficiency on the part of those who seek to immigrate here on a long term basis.”
The Public Charge Rule went into effect on Feb. 24. Acting Deputy Secretary Cuccinelli says the rule is part of a broader priority of the president in requiring self-sufficiency. Adding this is just one of many factors to determine eligibility. Calling it a totality of the circumstances test.
“Nothing will be automatically declined…if they are receiving cash benefits for instance then that will be a negative factor in considering whether to grant legal resident status but it will not be the only factor.” said Cuccinelli.
Local 23 spoke with advocates after the January ruling. They were upset about the decision.
“What it says is that only wealthy people educated people are going be allowed in this country which we know that may of us came with nothing in our pockets.” said Martha Sanchez, community organizer with LUPE.
Cuccinelli says the term public charge dates back 140 plus years in american law. Many factors were used in determining green card eligibility. Now gives immigration officers extensive guidance on how to implement the public charge standard that congress put in place in the 90’s.
“The Clinton administration put some guidance in place and said there will be a rule forthcoming. Well that rule never forth came until the public charge rule.” added Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli also says only new cases filed as of this week will be affected by the public charge rule and adds there is no single factor that determines an applicant’s green card eligibility.