Changes to Public Charge Immigration Policy on Hold Indefinitely

November 12, 2019

The “public charge” test has been part of federal immigration law for more than 100 years. It was created to identify people who may depend on government benefits as their main source of income. If the U.S. government determines someone is likely to become a “public charge,” they can deny admission to the U.S. or refuse an application for lawful permanent residency.

The government planned to change how it makes public charge decisions on October 15, 2019. However, on October 11, 2019, a federal court blocked implementation of the Department of Homeland Security's public charge regulation. The order, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in State of New York v. Department of Homeland Security and Make the Road New York v. Cuccinelli, blocked the regulation from taking effect on October 15. The new policy has not gone into effect, and the hold on implementation is indefinite at this time.

What Families Should Know

The proposed Public Charge policy changes are no longer an imminent threat. Families should not be concerned about enrolling in benefit programs they are eligible for, including Part C/Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) services. Families who are concerned about the impact of using public benefits should get advice from an immigration attorney or accredited representative.