The rule, which was published last year on August 14, 2019, was originally supposed to come into effect on October 15, 2019.
From February 24, i.e. Monday, the United States will enforce a new regulation denying green cards or legal permanent residency to those legal immigrants who seek food stamps and other public benefits. The move is set to affect many Indians living in the US on H-1B visa, waiting for permanent legal residency. On Friday, the US Supreme Court allowed the ‘public charge’ regulation, lifting the final remaining injunction. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the Department of Homeland Security would be able to implement its regulation from Monday.
The rule on legal immigrants defines how the US government will classify a foreigner as admissible, and also whether he/she would be eligible to adjust their status to that of America’s lawful permanent resident or if they could at any point in the future become a public charge, which means that they would rely primarily on the American government for subsistence like either receiving cash assistance from the government to maintain their income or long-term institutionalised care at the expense of the government.
Talking to media, Grisham said that the SC ruling would protect American taxpayers and safeguard welfare programmes for Americans, who were truly the ones in need. The move would also reduce the Federal deficit, Grisham said. The SC ruling would also re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to the US society should be financially self-reliant and not be dependent on United States taxpayers’ largesse.
The rule is especially likely to impact the South Asian community, including many Indians and their families. According to the new rule, it is a requirement for the people seeking an extension, stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received any public benefits over the allowed limit since obtaining their non-immigrant status, which they are seeking to change or extend.
According to a 2018 Migration Policy Institute Report, as many as 11 per cent non-citizen Indian families receive public benefits. All of these families and the benefits they receive will now be under the scanner.
The rule, which was published last year on August 14, 2019, was originally supposed to come into effect on October 15, 2019. However, it was deferred due to various court rulings before the SC finally ruled in favour of the government.