The Washington Post, the Trump Administration has also “cut refu­gee admissions, [placed a ban on] nationals of certain majority-Muslim countries, expanded immigration enforcement raids and deportations, and forced asylum seekers who come across the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico until their court hearings.” Needless to say, immigration reform is in full effect. And to make things even more difficult for immigrants, the administration has modified the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule which is expected to take effect on October 15, 2019, but that date could be postponed. The new rule will “establish new criteria for who can be considered dependent on the U.S. government for benefits, a change that could render many immigrants ineligible for green cards and thus a path to citizenship,” says The Washington Post. The news outlet stated that the new rule, prior to taking effect, received a significant amount of backlash as “critics say [it] makes the definition of “public charge” so vague and all-encompassing that it will effectively favor only rich, white immigrants.” In fact, so many were displeased with the proposed rule after it was formally announced that lawsuits have already been filed to challenge it. One of the lawsuits that was filed “on behalf of the city and county of San Francisco and others argues that the change is illegal.” Several other federal judges located across the U.S. are also expected to hear cases that contest the public charge rule, reports the news source. How will the new public charge rule affect immigrants in Atlanta who intend on applying for a green card? The new public charge rule will affect all immigrants, even those living outside of the State of GA. Under the new rule, “immigrants who are in the U.S. legally and use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance – or have one time used public benefits or are deemed likely to someday use public benefits – could be considered “public charges,” rendering them ineligible for green cards.” Essentially, if you are receiving government assistance of any type, you could be putting your chances of obtaining your green card in jeopardy. But I thought immigrants were entitled to receive certain government benefits? They are, which may be why so many are criticizing the new rule. Take Medicaid for instance. Medicaid is a “Medical Assistance program that provides health coverage for children under 19 years of age, and people who are aged, blind, and/or disabled and whose income is insufficient to meet the cost of necessary medical services” [Source: Georgia Department of Community Health]. If you live in GA, meet all the requirements the GA Department of Community Health says you must meet in order to obtain Medicaid, and you can provide proof that you are legally living in the U.S., you likely could receive medical benefits. But, with the new rule taking affect, immigrants who choose to apply for government benefits or those who received them in the past unaware that it would affect their ability to obtain a green card may now may not even get the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship. Aside from limiting immigrants who are experiencing a financial hardship from obtaining food stamps or medical benefits as they fear they won’t be able to apply for a green card, the new rule will also add certain factors for immigration officials to consider during the green card application process. The news source says that officials will use “positive” and “negative” factors including “whether a person is unemployed, dropped out of high school, or is not fluent in English.” What should I do if I need to apply for my green card and I live in Atlanta, GA? If you apply for your green card after October 15, 2019, then your application may be processed according to the updated policy given the new rule goes into effect. Those who applied for their green card prior to when the new rule will take effect should be subject to the terms set forth in the old policy. Now, because we expect the new rule to make the green card application process lengthier and more difficult for immigrants, we do encourage you to contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC when you intend on applying. Our experienced green card attorneys in Atlanta, GA will not only assist you with filling out the application, which has proven to be difficult for many, but we will also help you get it filed. If you would like to speak with a lawyer now who can provide you with additional details regarding the new public charge rule or you have questions about applying for a green card in Atlanta, GA Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC is here to help you.

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