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August 14, 2019

DHS Issues Final Rule on Public Charge

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule expanding the types of public benefits that may be considered when assessing whether an individual is a “public charge” for purposes of altering their immigration status. The rule allows DHS officials to deny legal status to immigrants who utilize non-cash public benefits such as Medicaid (excluding pregnant women and individuals under 21), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and subsidies for federal housing. The rule is expected to produce a significant chilling effect within immigrant communities by dissuading them from not only applying for public benefits, but from interacting with the health care system entirely.