Update on the Federal Public Charge Final Rule from Roger Rosenthal
The following is a message sent to the members of the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education (NASDME) by Roger Rosenthal, the NASDME Executive Consultant.
This is a quick update regarding the federal Public Charge Final Rule that was initially scheduled to take effect in mid-October of 2019. This rule applies to those applying for a green card (legal permanent residency) either from outside the U.S. to enter the country or to change status to legal permanent residency from inside the U.S.
As many of you know, three federal courts had prevented the implementation of the rule through nationwide injunctions. Two of those injunctions were subsequently overturned in the federal courts of appeal, but one nationwide injunction remained and so the rule had not yet taken effect.
The Supreme Court very recently reviewed these cases and lifted the remaining nationwide injunction against implementation, allowing the Trump Administration to start using the new final rule. The Administration has announced that the rule will now take effect on February 24.
What many observers do not realize is that these three federal cases are not dead. They go back to the three federal courts to determine the validity of the rule, even though it has taken effect.
Therefore, there is a chance that one or more courts will hold the new rule legally invalid in the near future. It is not clear how much of a chance there is for that to happen. But the story has not yet been completed.
In the meantime, the rule will take effect on February 24. Please remember that this rule does not affect most undocumented individuals in the U.S., since they are not eligible to participate in any of the programs listed in the rule (which could cause a problem on the path to a green card, if the program is used). Plus, under immigration law as it exists today, if you entered the country without permission and are currently undocumented, there is not likely a path to a green card.
If you already have a green card, the rule does not apply to you. if you seek a green card, use of these designated programs by members of your household, including minor children, will not affect you.
One last little quirky tidbit: There is a court injunction in Illinois preventing implementation of the new rule, so the rule will not take effect in that state unless and until that statewide injunction is lifted.