Public charge is a term used in immigration law to refer to a person who is dependent on the government for support. When a person wants to enter the US or change their status to become a lawful citizen, they have to pass the public charge test or get a public charge waiver. A public charge test is done by looking at things like age, health, education and financial status. In October 2018, the federal government proposed changes to the public charge requirements that could negatively affect the immigrant population in Washtenaw County. Below is a look at current and proposed guidelines.
- Cash assistance programs from state or local programs
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- General assistance or local cash assistance programs
- Long-term institutional care programs
- Additional state and local programs added, including health care, food, and housing programs
- Low-income levels negatively affect public charge determinations
- Applies to extending a nonimmigrant visa and changing the status of a nonimmigrant visa
- Low English-speaking skills, physical or mental health conditions
- negatively affect public charge decisions
- If an immigrant is likely to become a public charge, they may be required to purchase a public charge bond for a minimum of $10,000. And they might also lose that money if they use government programs.
These changes are complex and could affect a lot of people, but there are a few important points to remember.
- The changes are still only a proposal
- The proposal will only apply to programs you use after the rules take effect
- The changes do not apply to all immigrants
- Your personal informations privacy is protected by law
- There is still time