National Security

DHS expected to unveil final rule unwinding Trump’s public charge policy

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas answers a question from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) during a House Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Greg Nash
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas answers a question from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) during a House Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

The Biden administration is expected on Thursday to publish its final rule unwinding a Trump-era policy that sought to limit immigration of those it feared may rely on social services.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will unveil a rule that would roll back the Trump administration’s so-called public charge rule, restricting immigration pathways for those seeking to become U.S. citizens only if they are “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.”

The rule would be a departure from a Trump-era policy requiring prospective new citizens to forecast whether they might at any time rely on government aid, including barring those who received assistance from one program over the course of a year.

The Biden administration stopped defending the Trump-era rule in litigation just months after taking office.

DHS then offered its own proposed update for the rule in February, calling it a break from the “harsh approach” taken by its predecessor that “caused many noncitizens to be fearful of accessing benefits that Congress intended them to have.”

“The 2019 public charge rule was not consistent with our nation’s values,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a press release at the time. 

“Under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them,” he said.

While the Trump-era rule also considered reliance on a broad array of government services as potentially disqualifying, the Biden proposal narrowed that list. Use of food stamps, Medicaid,or housing benefits would not be used to determine if someone was a public charge.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas Biden Donald Trump immigration policy Joe Biden public charge rule
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