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‘Public Charge’ Rule Vacated by Federal Judge; USCIS cannot apply standards in new Visa applications

On Monday, a federal judge vacated a policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance, also known as the “public charge” rule. The rule — announced in September 2018 — effectively created wealth tests for immigrants deemed likely to use a broad range of government assisted social programs, such as food stamp usage.

Judge Gary Feinerman wrote the rule was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how regulations are developed and rolled out. As a result, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services cannot apply the new standard in reviewing applications. The rule had stated that any applicant likely to use housing vouchers, food stamps and nonemergency Medicaid, among other public benefits, for certain amounts of time could be denied a green card.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

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