On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped enforcing the Trump administration’s 2019 “public charge” policies. These regulations created a new definition of ‘public charge’ that made receipt of non-cash benefits such as Medicaid, Section 8 housing, and food stamps negative factors for any immigrant applying for permanent residency. As a result of the Trump public charge rules, the Urban Institute reported that over 13% of adults in immigrant households declined government aid in 2020 for fear of risking their immigration cases.
DHS will now restore the public charge rules that were in force from 1999 to 2019. A green card application will not take into account a person’s receipt of Medicaid, public housing or food stamps. The Trump regulations also created burdensome new requirements for financial disclosure, and these have also been rescinded.