Deadline to comment on Trump “public charge” proposal set

New citizens listen to speakers during a naturalization ceremony to commemorate Constitution Day at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on September 17, 2018. (Photo by Kelsey Bell via National Archives Flickr.)

The federal government has set a Dec. 10 deadline to comment on a proposal that would make it more difficult for a person to gain entry or permanent status in the United States if it seems “likely” that the person would use non-cash public benefits.

On Wednesday, the Federal Register officially published the proposed rule, which gives the general public 60 days to submit comments to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Local service providers said there has been a drop in immigrants accessing public services, as some fear how the change would affect their residency status.

Previous coverage: Trump proposal chills immigrant enrollment in public services

The Department of Homeland Security first released the proposed changes to existing rules on Sept. 22. If implemented, the proposal would make it more difficult for a person to gain entry or permanent status in the U.S. if that person seems likely to use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and public housing. The proposed regulations won’t apply to existing green card holders or refugees.

The government already considers a person’s use of cash benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to determine if they are likely to become a public charge, or someone who depends on public benefits as the primary means of support. It’s one of several factors immigration officials weigh when considering someone for temporary or permanent residency.

The new rule would take into consideration a person’s use of non-cash benefits like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Section 8 and other public housing.

According to the Federal Register, written comments and related material to this proposed rule, including the proposed information collections, must be received to the online docket via on or before Dec. 10. Comments can also be sent via U.S. Postal Service to Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140.

The Federal Register requests that commenters reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012 in correspondence. Mail must be postmarked by the comment submission deadline.