Good news for persons applying for adjustment of status and for persons applying for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status. Last week the Department of Justice stopped defending the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule in the courts. USCIS followed suit by announcing that it would no longer apply the Public Charge Final Rule to certain immigration benefits applications pending with the agency.
This returns us to the state of affairs which pre-existed the Public Charge Final Rule. Moving forward, USCIS will apply the public charge inadmissibility statute in accordance with 1999 Interim Field Guidance.
Relatedly, applicants for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status will no longer need to demonstrate that they are not inadmissible on public charge grounds by virtue of having received certain public benefits (e.g., Medicaid, public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP)). USCIS has removed Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, from its website and intends to update other forms affected by the Public Charge Final Rule.
These changes should simplify the process of applying for a Green Card or change or extension of nonimmigrant status. However, persons with cases that were filed while the Public Charge Final Rule was in effect may benefit from a consultation with a qualified immigration lawyer to understand how they may be affected. This is particularly true for applicants who have received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) in their case. I will continue to monitor developments as they relate to the invalidation of the Public Charge Final Rule, as well as efforts by several states to resuscitate the Final Rule by intervening in the cases dismissed by DOJ.