The Joe Biden administration has reportedly scrapped the rule that barred immigrants from getting legal residency of they utilised certain government benefits. The Department of Homeland Security said that a new regulation for the public charge rule would come into effect this December, AP reported.
The public charge rule barred people from getting green cards if they would be ‘burdens to the United States’. Officially known as a permanent resident card, a green card allows you to live and work permanently in the US.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary said that the shift ensures fair and humane treatment. He added that the government will not penalise individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other government services, AP reported.
The department of homeland security in a statement said it will develop a policy manual update to help United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers apply this regulation fairly and consistently, and to better inform the public about how the rule will be implemented.
“DHS will also conduct public outreach and engagements to minimize the risk of confusion or chilling effects among both noncitizens and U.S. citizens,” it added.
For years before Trump administration, the public charge rule was interpreted as being primarily dependent on cash assistance, income maintenance or government support. Later, the Trump administration expanded the benefits to include non-cash assistance including food stamps and Medicaid.
Despite legal challenges, the changes were allowed to be implemented in 2020. But the Biden administration made it cleat that it would not continue to defend the rule, AP reported.
The immigration advocates have hailed the move, stating that the Trump administration’s rule had created a tough atmosphere for those seeking legal residency. Jeremy McKinney, the president of American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that the public charge regulation had caused fear among immigrants who sought to legally apply for a green card, that many chose to forego health care and vital financial support. “These changes to simplify and de-mystify the rule will truly change lives across our nation,” McKinney was quoted by AP.