Immigration Status & Public Charge

Headline:

USCIS is automatically extending the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file a Form I-90 to renew an expiring or expired Green Card. A recent court ruling declared DACA policy violates US immigration law.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Oct. 6, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • DHS has published a final public charge rule that will be effective on December 23, 2022. In the meantime, the Trump Administration’s 2019 Public Charge Rule is no longer in effect. Immigrant families can use most public health, nutrition, and housing programs with no adverse impact on their future Green Card applications.
  • USCIS is automatically extending the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file a Form I-90 to renew an expiring or expired Green Card.
  • A new court ruling declared DACA illegal, but the court did not order the Biden administration to shut down DACA completely.
  • Some people with employment authorization documents (EAD) may be entitled to an automatic 18-month extension. More here.
  • USCIS field offices are open with additional COVID-19 related precautions. Visitors are required to wear a mask. More information here.
  • Boston Immigration Court is open.
  • DHS issued this statement ensuring the public that all individuals living in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) extended refugee benefits to eligible refugees from 8 months to 12 months.

The Breakdown

  • USCIS announced that it is automatically extending the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who file a Form I-90 to renew an expiring or expired Green Card. (Form I-90 receipt notices had previously provided a 12-month Green Card extension.) For more information, visit Replace Your Green Card.
  • A federal appeals court held that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy was illegal as it violates immigration law.
    • The court did not require the Biden Administration to shut-down DACA completely, but it did prohibit the processing of any new DACA applications.
    • Existing DACA recipients may continue to renew their status.
    • This ruling may be subject to additional appeals.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted to foreign nationals when they are unable to return to their home country due to extreme conditions such as those caused by war, environmental disaster or other extraordinary situations.
    • The US recently extended TPS for:
      • Burma effective through May 25, 2024.
      • Syria effective through April 1, 2024.
  • Due to extreme processing delays, the Biden Administration has issued this temporary rule authorizing an 18-month automatic employment authorization extension for people with EADs. This includes, but not limited to, people who are refugees, asylees, or have temporary protected status. More about eligibility categories here.
  • Under the new public charge rule, DHS will not consider in public charge determinations benefits received by family members other than the applicant. As a result, the items on this non exhaustive list are no longer considered public charge:
    • SNAP (food stamps)
    • Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization)
    • Public housing
    • Section 8
  • Immigration court case information is available online with a 9-digit alien registration number (A-#########) or by calling the Executive Office of Administration Review at 1-800-898-7180.
  • After a federal appeals court rejected the Biden administration’s policy regarding enforcement priorities, the administration appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court.
    • On July 21, 2022, SCOTUS then denied the administration’s request to reinstate its immigration enforcement priorities but agreed to hear the case later this year.
    • The Homeland Security policy had instructed immigration agencies to prioritize three categories of noncitizens for arrest and detention: recent border crossers, those who pose a threat to national security or a threat to public safety.
  • Case processing times have been impacted by the pandemic and staffing. Use the USCIS look-up tool for the latest on the processing time for applications.  
Resources
  • Protecting Immigrant Families has updated public charge guidance for advocates here.
  • HigherEd Immigration Portal offers state and federal data and information about DACA, undocumented, other immigrant, international, and refugee students, related policies, and best practices. 
  • RIDOH has these resources for undocumented immigrants and NILC has these COVID-19 resources for immigrants.
  • Penn State Law has put together a resource list for Afghan Nationals seeking legal help or support services. More information can be found here.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help families navigate the limited immigration-related resources available in RI and help to demystify the evolving immigration policy landscape, especially as it relates to public charge. You can help demystify the changes by sharing resources such as the Protecting Immigrant Family Coalition update.