New Public charge rule may deny legal residency

By Atty. Chris Caday Lozano

The policy, termed the “public charge rule” by proponents and a “wealth test” by critics, was cleared by the Supreme Court recently.

This new rule means that many legal immigrants who previously had qualified for residency would no longer qualify under current rule.

The policy, which was first announced in August but delayed until now by federal courts, adds restrictions to the “public charge” rule that immigration agents consult when considering individual cases for green cards, which grant permanent US residency.

The vaguely-defined public charge rule has been in place for over 100 years, and says that migrants who are likely to require extensive government welfare should not be admitted.

But under the new rules, some recipients of “non-cash” benefits including particular types of healthcare assistance, food aid and housing subsidies can also be turned down – on the basis that they are “a public charge”.

The update also raises the salary required for a family of four from $32,000 per year to $60,000.

The policy applies to anyone who received government welfare for 12 months at any point in the past 36 months.

The rule does not apply to refugees, asylum-seekers, or victims of crimes who are aiding US investigators.

It also exempts certain benefits from consideration by immigration agents – including emergency medical assistance, school lunch subsidies, disaster relief and government healthcare (Medicaid) for those under 21 years old.

Nonetheless, almost two-thirds of migrants who qualified for legal US residency from 2012 to 2016 would not have done so if these rules had been in place then, according to a study by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

The new policy will not apply to anyone who had applied for residency prior to 24 February 2020.

Democrats and civil rights activists have condemned the change, pointing out that recipients of government aid tend to be people from vulnerable populations such as women, children, and the elderly.

The National Immigration Law Centre, a think-tank, attacked it as a “morally repugnant and legally dubious regulation”.

The group said that nearly millions of non-citizens in the US are receiving the newly-disqualifying public services.

Democrats warn that as of Monday, when the public charge law took effect, it will be more likely that low-income immigrants will face deportation.


Note:     This is not a legal advice.



  1. For the month of January 2020, we received approvals from USCIS of five Adjustment of status applications, three N-400 applications for naturalization and three fiancé visa application.
  2. For the month of December 2019, we received four approvals of naturalization applications, five approvals of Adjustment of Status applications, two approvals of Petition to remove condition on residence, one renewal of green card approval and one green card application at the U.S. Embassy.
  3. For the month of November 2019, we received approvals of one naturalization application, one renewal of green card, one Petition to remove condition on residence and one adjustment of status.
  4. For the month of October 2019, we received five naturalization application approvals and two renewal of green card and one DACA approval.
  5. For the month of September 2019, we received approval of two naturalization applications, one adjustment of status and one application to remove condition on residence.
  6. For the month of August, 2019, we received approval from Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who has committed marriage fraud. We also received approval from USCIS of two naturalization applications and two fiancé visa petition.
  7. For the month of July 2019, we received approvals of three N-400 application for Naturalization, one I-751 Petition to remove condition of residence with interview and two I-90 renewal of green card.
  8. For June 2019, we received approvals of four adjustment of status, six naturalization applications and two certificate of citizenship applications, and one Removal of condition on resident.
  9. On May 6, 2019, we received approvals of three adjustment of status applications and two Naturalization applications.
  10. On April 24, 2019, we received approval from USCIS for three naturalization applications and one adjustment of status.
  11. On March 29, 2019, we received an approval of adjustment of status for a client whose petitioner and primary beneficiary has died under INA 204(l)
  12. On March 28, 2019, we received an approval of renewal of green card for a client who was in the Philippines under medical treatment for one and a half years.
  13. From March 4 to 26, 2019, we received six adjustment of status approvals.
  14. For the month of February, 2019, we received tow approvals of renewal of green card and one approval of removal of condition on residence.

If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.

Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers.  He practices immigration law, bankruptcy and personal injury law since June 1999.  His contact phone is 1-877-456-9266, email:

Toll Free 1-877-4LOZANO for free consultation or Schedule an Appointment