Federal Court Issues a Temporary Hold on Public Charge Form (I-944)
During the Trump Administration, an important tool immigration advocates have used to protect the right of immigrants, has been the federal court system. It has been the federal courts that struck down the initial versions of the “Muslim travel ban”; that prevented the President from rescinding DACA; and that rejected the Administration’s rationale for denying Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions based on a jurisdictional argument. On July 29, 2020, the federal court system again came to the aid of the immigrant community, this time with respect to the new public charge regulation that was designed to disqualify immigrants, many who are not affluent, from residency or nonimmigrant status.
Judge George Daniels of the Federal Court of New York has issued a preliminary injunction, which forbids USCIS from enforcing the new public charge regulation while there is a national health emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic. USCIS has agreed to comply with the injunction, as it is required by law to do, and will not apply the new public charge regulation to applications it adjudicates on or after July 29, 2020. Additionally, immigrants who submit applications that are postmarked on or after July 29, 2020, should not submit Form I-944 (a long 19 page form). This ruling applies both to individuals applying for residency (Green Card) and those applying for nonimmigrant status.
This was an important victory and now many immigrants can safely seek treatment and testing that is needed to combat the coronavirus, and can also turn to other benefits to assist them financially during this time of massive unemployment. However, it is important to note that Judge Daniels’ decision can be appealed by the Trump Administration, and given its blatant anti-immigrant stance, it is likely that an appeal will be filed. This means that the fight is not yet over, and we must continue to support the immigrant community against the never-ending barrage of attacks by President Trump and his allies.
For immigrants who are eligible to adjust status to that of a resident or to extend or change their nonimmigrant status, it is advantageous to file their applications while the preliminary injunction is in place. The experienced legal team of FitzGerald Law Company remains available to assist the immigrant community and their families. If you believe you qualify for an immigration benefit, call 617-303-2600 to schedule an appointment with one of our immigration lawyers today, or request an appointment online.
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