Public charge policy could make applying for a green card more difficult for some immigrants

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A new rule that went into effect Monday could make it harder for immigrants to obtain green cards.

Attorney Lymari Casta says she has been flooded with calls and concerns from the Norwood section of the Bronx now that green card applicants will have to prove they won't be a "public charge."

Under the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds policy, immigrants who rely on benefits or are considered likely to rely on benefits, including Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and supplemental security income, could find it more difficult to obtain a green card.

Immigration officials will use a set of factors, including age and income, to determine whether a person's application should be denied.

"It is very important for people to know that people who received asylum, are refugees, people that have applied or are a recipient of special immigrant juvenile status, recipients of trafficking and victims of crimes — when they are applying for a green card — this doesn't apply to them," says Castra.

In a release from the Department of Homeland Security, they say, "This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance and determination."

News 12 is told the city's new NYC Care program and many types of health coverage are not considered in the public charge rule.

A statement from the mayor's office says in part, "It's important to know that eligibility for public benefits has not changed and many immigrants are not affected by public charge. Don't stop using public benefits unnecessarily."

Non-U.S. citizens who are already permanent residents will not be affected. According to Castra, the rule is being appealed.


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