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What is the Public Charge Rule Change

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What is the new Public Charge rule and how is it going to affect me? Hi. I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We are going to do a series of videos on the upcoming changes to the Public Charge rule. On February 24, 2020, Homeland Security will change the way that they interpret immigrants wanting to obtain a green card to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. It's going to be a much harsher interpretation. It's going to be much harder for immigrants to get a green card either based on marriage or family, other family relationships.

I'm going to do a series of videos over the next few days about these changes, and I'm going to be resorting to some notes that I have because I want to make sure that I get it all correct. I feel like an old TV news anchor back in the day who was handed a script and dropped onto the air because things are so fluid right now, but it looks like the law is going to go into effect or I should say the regulations are going to go into effect because there's no substantive legal change.

In this first video, I want to do an overview of what exactly is happening. Historically, the federal government for years and years, decades, has wanted to make sure that immigrants who come to the United States do not become public charges, that they do not become part of the welfare system, that they don't get benefits and that they are self-sufficient.
Historically, that's been solved with a form called the I-864. The I-864 is the Affidavit of Support. We have plenty of videos about that and the Affidavit of Support will still come into effect. But now we're going to be talking about a form called the I-944, the Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. We're shifting to a new system where Immigration is going to have a tremendous amount of discretion in deciding who they think is going to become a public charge. There are a series of factors that we will talk about in other videos that will allow them to do this, but I want to step back for a minute before we dive in and talk about exactly what's going on.

The current administration ran on an America First campaign, an isolationist campaign, an anti-immigrant campaign. Now, what we immigration lawyers have been saying for a really long time is finally coming true, and that is that they want to stop legal immigration to the United States. They use derogatory terms like chain migration, but really what we're talking about is family-based immigration where someone gets an immigration benefit, becomes a U.S. citizen, then sponsors a family member.

It's going to impact all kinds of people. It's going to impact young people who are in college who fall in love with someone. It's going to impact people who want to sponsor their elderly mother or father. This is a real assault on legal immigration, so just conceptually, I want you to understand that what's going on in this scenario is that the Trump administration has declared war on legal immigration. No laws have changed, no statutes revised, no laws of Congress. This is just the Trump administration pushing this through and the Supreme Court saying that they're going to let them do that while the case is litigated.

Now, lawsuits have been filed all over the country challenging this interpretation of the public charge rule, but the Supreme Court has said in a narrow five-to-four decision that the law, or the regulations, can go forward while the courts decide whether or not the administration filed the law in applying the new changes to the Public Charge rule. It's very upsetting, it's very troubling, it's very problematic.

It's going to affect almost every green card case based on family relationships, and it's really a negative thing. It's not going to help people, and I think you're going to see a lot of outcry and people upset about it. Of course, the current administration likes that. It's an election year and they want the focus to be on lazy immigrants who come to the United States, so they say, instead of focusing on the great benefits that immigrants provide.

As we dig deeper into these changes in the upcoming videos, we hope you stay tuned. If you have any questions, of course, you can email us at [email protected] You can give us a call at 314-961-8200. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It's called Immigrant Home. We'll be talking about that. And then if you liked this video and you want to subscribe so you get updates on the Public Charge rule and any other immigration changes, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on LinkedIn so you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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