US Denying Green Cards And Extensions Of Other Temporary Stay Visas Under A New Rule May Impact Indians


New Delhi: The United States will start denying Green Cards and extensions of other temporary stay visas to foreigners under a new rule that goes into effect after 60 days who have either used government assistance such as food stamps and housing rent or are “likely at any time to become a public charge”. Someone who has come to reply on these “public benefits” and experts said that this could also impact Indians. 

Experts estimate that this rule, called the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds”, is the most significant of the Trump administration’s immigration moves and could cut legal immigration by half.

It is likely to impact Indians even though most of them are in the United States either on short-term work visas such as the H-1B and on F-1 visas for students, and are able to take care of themselves without assistance from the government. “It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas—plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders,” said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship.

“The important thing to note here is that the vast majority of people affected by the public charge rule will have never used public benefits and probably never will — they will be rejected under the ‘prospective’ criteria that demand English proficiency, small family size, middle-class income, etc,” he added.

In short, an applicant can be turned down pre-emptively if deemed as someone who could potentially go on to use government benefits.

Though the rule, which will be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security and immigration agencies run by it, will apply only to foreigners already in the United States, new admissions are expected to be impacted as well, because, experts say the state department “is already applying more expansive public charge requirements to visa applicants abroad, and is expected to fully adopt the DHS standards”. In short, tourists could be put through the same screening process.

The new “public charge rule” has been in offing for months now and was previewed in the US Federal Register, the official government gazette, on Monday. It is scheduled for publication on Wednesday as a “final rule”, and will go into effect 60 days from then. It not impact petitions and applications moved before that date.

It is expected to apply to over 1 million Green Card and visa applicants within the US and an estimated 13 million more abroad, Rand said. A response was awaited to from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will be the DHS agency using the new rule, about official estimates.


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