What if I’m an immigrant and my U.S. citizen kid is getting benefits?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
The President of the United States has declared war on immigrants and especially poor immigrants. And one of the things that they’ve done is they’ve greatly expanded the use of the public charge rule, and they’re using it as a hammer to deny cases.
So we got an email this week from someone who’s on an F-1 visa. That’s a student visa. And she had a child here in the United States. And that child, and that child only in the family, is getting food stamps and Medicaid/Medicare benefits.
And so the question is, is this going to hurt the F-1 student if they ever apply for a green card if they’re going to be found to be a public charge?
And my answer would be this is a bad idea. Your child might be entitled to these benefits, but it could really come back to haunt you. Whether it would haunt you under current circumstances or, more likely, if the Trump administration makes it even harsher for immigrants in the future to adjust status based on a finding of public charge, you’re handing them on a silver platter a very easy reason to deny you and to find that you’re a public charge.
The thought is that you should be able to support your dependents. If your child is taking benefits out of the system right now, the law says that you can’t be dinged or penalized for that, but I’m not confident that that will change. So you probably, if you can avoid it, want to avoid it.
I understand that sometimes people are in economic straits, especially with all the unemployment and things, but we know one of the things about being on an F-1 student visa is that you promise and aver to the State Department and to USCIS that you’re going to be able to support yourself.
Now, whether that extends to supporting your U.S. Citizen children is probably up for debate, but it doesn’t look good, and it’s not going to help. And you don’t ever want to give them things to beat you over the head with.
So I’m thinking defensively, and I’m thinking in the future that it might not be a good thing. So certainly you can do it, but if you can avoid it by any means necessary, I would avoid it. So, hope that answers the question.
If you have questions about the public charge or about the rights of your U.S. citizen children, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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